Last week, the White House announced that it will block a rule requiring large companies to report data on worker salaries, broken down by gender and race. The initiative, which was due to take effect next year, was intended to provide the EEOC with improved tools to combat pay discrimination and to close the gender pay gap. It would have applied to companies with 100 or more workers and federal contractors with 50 or more workers.
This reversal in itself isn’t surprising. The Trump administration has rescinded several other Obama-era policies, most recently DACA. What is surprising: that the decision to block the rule is supported by Ivanka Trump, who has previously spoken about the importance of closing the gender pay gap.
On August 29, the OMB released a statement announcing that it would pause the initiative, citing privacy and confidentiality issues, as well as concerns that the data collection would be “unnecessarily burdensome.” Hours later, Ivanka Trump released a statement, saying:
Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results. 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,” writes Danielle Paquette at The Washington Post. “Then she consulted experts and worried that it wouldn’t work as intended.”
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Why Pay Transparency Matters
Women earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to PayScale data. That’s the uncontrolled data, meaning a comparison of all men to all women. But even when we compare only men and women in similar jobs, with similar education and experience, women earn 98 cents on the dollar.
However you slice the data, women earn less than men — and that matters, because as Ivanka Trump herself noted during her father’s campaign, 40 percent of households have female breadwinners. The pay gap is bad for individual women, but also bad for families and the economy.
Pay transparency is one way to close the gap. When companies choose (or are forced) to share their compensation strategy and/or pay data, it becomes harder to pay men and women inequitably. Rescinding this rule makes it easier for companies to avoid scrutiny.
That may be the point.
“Ultimately, the Trump calculus here was simple,” writes Christina Cauterucci at Slate. “Businesses know they’ll be more likely to get on the hook for unequal pay if they have to report their pay structures disaggregated by demographics, so that’s likely why they don’t want to do it.”
Are you being paid unfairly? Find out. Take PayScale’s free Salary Survey and see how your pay stacks up against your peers’.
Tell Us What You Think
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