Trump Administration's Move on Gender Wage Gap Prompts Outrage

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 3, 2017 | Go to article overview

Trump Administration's Move on Gender Wage Gap Prompts Outrage


Byline: Danielle Paquette The Washington Post

The Trump administration has halted a rule that would have required large companies to report to the government what they pay employees by race and gender -- an Obama-era policy that aimed to close what economists call the wage gap.

The decision landed Tuesday evening, prompting outrage from groups who note that women and minorities still aren't receiving equal pay for equal work. Some of the furor was directed at Ivanka Trump, who has previously spoken out against wage disparities and workplace discrimination.

Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women's Law Center, said the move contradicts President Donald Trump's claim that he wants prosperity for every American.

"It's not enough to say 'equal pay,' " Grave said. "It matters what policies you stand behind."

In a letter sent Tuesday to Victoria Lipnic, acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs said the Office of Management and Budget had paused the government's pay data collection process to review it.

"OMB is concerned that some aspects of the revised collection of information lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues," Rao wrote, according to documents obtained by the Post.

Ivanka Trump released a statement hours later.

"Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results," she said. "We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap."

A source close to Ivanka Trump, who works as an unpaid adviser to her father, said she initially wanted to support the measure. Then she consulted experts and worried it wouldn't work as intended.

Graves said that Ivanka Trump's platform to fight discrimination at work now seems flimsy.

"We have seen her say the words 'equal pay' and that she supports equal pay," Graves said, "but halting an equal pay policy, which would have brought transparency and improved enforcement and made employers more accountable -- that shows her rhetoric doesn't match reality."

The Obama-era rule, which did not require congressional approval, would have given the EEOC more reach in its efforts to investigate firms with glaring pay disparities.

Starting next year, companies with more than 100 employees and federal contractors with at least 50 would have had to report more detailed salary data to the EEOC on a form they already annually submit to the agency.

If the numbers revealed that a business paid, say, male sales employees far more than their female counterparts, the EEOC could choose to look into the matter and perhaps launch a discrimination lawsuit. …

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