Obama moves forward with equal pay regs

The Obama administration is moving forward with regulations requiring federal contractors to disclose pay data by sex, race and other categories in an effort to promote equal pay.

The  proposal will be published in Friday’s edition of the Federal Register, starting the clock on a 90-day public comment period.


President Obama directed the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in April to draft the regulations as part of an initiative to boost pay for women, minorities and other groups facing wage gaps.

“This summary compensation data collection from Federal contractors and subcontractors by OFCCP is a critical tool for eradicating compensation discrimination,” the agency said in its notice of proposed rulemaking.

The measure is designed to ensure equal pay laws, such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which promotes fair pay for women.

It is one of a series of initiatives put forth as part of the populist economic strategy pressed by the president.

Without help from the divided Congress, Obama has sought to use the power of his office to further the initiative. But with limited authority over wage issues, many of his unilateral steps have been limited to federal contractors, who employ roughly 28 million workers, according to the Labor Department.

This week’s action follows executive orders raising the minimum wage for employees of contractors and steps designed to prevent wage discrimination based on sexual orientation and retaliation against workers who disclose their pay.

Last week, Obama issued another order requiring firms seeking federal contracts to disclose labor violations dating back three years.

Contractors balked at that effort, saying companies could be effectively “blacklisted” for minor or accidental infractions.