With the recent freeze of an Obama-era proposal, the White House appears to be following through on its vow to roll back employer regulations.
On August 29, the Office of Management and Budget issued an immediate stay of new equal pay reporting requirements first proposed during Obama administration. Under the new rules, companies with 100 or more employees would have been required to include pay data on their EEO-1 reports. These already mandatory reports include information on employee gender, race, and roles. Last year, the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that the changes would have better enabled the agency to “assess complaints of discrimination, focus agency investigations, and identify existing pay disparities that may warrant further examination.”
Fast forward nearly 20 months later, the EEOC under Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic—a President Trump appointee and longtime opponent of the changes—released a statement in support of the freeze. That sentiment was echoed by first daughter Ivanka Trump, an avowed equal pay advocate. “While I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” Trump said in a brief message to the press.
The revised reporting requirements, which were set to go into effect on March 31, 2018, had been strongly opposed by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). The group, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, lobbies lawmakers on behalf of HR professionals. SHRM argued that in addition to posing an administrative burden on employers, the change would have called into question legitimate pay disparities influenced by an individual's performance, education, and geographic location.
Conversely, equal pay groups slammed the decision, claiming that the new reporting requirements would have better equipped the EEOC with the tools needed to identify and investigate disparities in the workplace.
HR professionals should note that while the requirement to list pay data has been scrapped for for foreseeable future, the usual EEO-1 reporting requirements are still intact. At press time, the next reporting deadline for these reports was still March 31, 2018.