The Department of Labor yesterday released its final rule in implementing President Obama’s Executive Order on equal pay. This rule protects all federally contracted employees from retaliation for discussing their pay.
Currently, almost one-quarter of the American workforce is employed by federal contractors, giving millions of women further tools to combat pay discrimination. Executive Order 13665, the new rule, not only prohibits retaliation against employees who wish to discuss their pay, but also requires contractors to discuss nondiscrimination protection with employees and job applicants. Previously, nearly half of all workers in the US were either expressly forbidden or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay with colleagues.
“President Obama is making history through his executive order, and is step-by-step fighting to end gender, race, and ethnicity pay discrimination,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “This Labor Day he announced an executive order granting all federally contracted workers much needed paid sick leave. It’s time long overdue for Congress to extend these rights to all employees and to raise the minimum wage.”
The President also signed a federal memorandum to requiring federal contractors to provide wage information by sex, rave, and ethnicity.
President Obama signed the first part of this executive order last year, aiming to promote fair pay and safe workplaces for federally contracted workers. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order is intended to hold corporations accountable, offer guidance to companies on how to improve, and streamline implementation and contractor reporting. The order also gives employees more power in confronting workplace discrimination and pay inequities.
The Executive Order is being implemented in stages, and will be fully implemented in 2016. President Obama previously signed executive orders banning LGBT discrimination in the workplace for federal contracts and promoting pay equity for women in the workplace.
Media Resources: NWLC 9/10/15; Department of Labor Release 9/11/15; Feminist Newswire 4/7/14; 8/4/14; 7/22/14;