EEOC to Collect Wage and Hour Data Based on Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Effort to Aid Enforcement of Laws Requiring Pay Equity

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has proposed a change to the EEO-1 Report, the standard form used to collect workforce profiles from certain private industry employers and federal contractors. In its current iteration, the form annually requires employers to categorize their workforces based on gender, race, ethnicity, and job category, using data collected from one pay period occurring in July, August, or September of the reporting year. The amended form would require further categorization of employees based on W-2 earnings and hours worked.

Employers filing the new EEO-1 Report will have to place the number of employees from each background and job category into one of twelve “pay bands,” which reflect annual wages or salaries ranging from “$19,239 and under” to “$208,000 and over.” Employers must also include the total number of hours worked by the employees in each pay band. Notably, the EEOC “is not proposing to require an employer to begin collecting additional data on actual hours worked for salaried workers, to the extent that the employer does not currently maintain such information.” Accordingly, the EEOC has encouraged employers to comment on the issue, and has suggested that they use a 40 hour per week estimate for full-time salaried employees.

The EEOC’s proposal, which was announced in conjunction with a White House commemoration of the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, comes in response to efforts by the Obama Administration to improve enforcement of federal laws prohibiting pay discrimination. The EEOC will share the data with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”), and plans to use the data “to more effectively focus agency investigations, assess complaints of discrimination, and identify existing pay disparities that may warrant further examination.”

If the proposed changes are adopted, employers will begin reporting wage and hour information on their EEO-1 forms commencing with the 2017 reporting cycle.

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