Biden Takes Aim at Federal Pay Disparities on Law's 15th Anniversary
By April Fowell
- President Biden announces measures to address wage disparities, marking the 15th anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
- The Office of Personnel Management releases a final regulation preventing the consideration of past income in determining federal employees' wages.
- The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council proposes rules prohibiting federal contractors from using past earnings information in hiring or salary decisions and requiring disclosure of wage ranges in job ads.
The Biden administration is taking additional steps to help fix wage disparities for federal employees and employees of government contractors on Monday, the 15th anniversary of a historic federal pay equality statute.
President Joe Biden stated that although there has been improvement since the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was enacted in January 2009, women who work outside the house are still paid, on average, 84 cents for every dollar earned by males, and that the differences in pay are much more pronounced for many women of color.
"Common-sense" measures unveiled on Monday, according to the Democratic president, "will help pay millions of workers fairly, close gender and racial wage gaps, and yield tangible benefits for the federal government and federal contractors."
A final regulation prohibiting the government from taking into account an individual's previous or present income when establishing their wage for federal employment has been released by the Office of Personnel Management. According to administration authorities, taking this action will guarantee that salary is determined by an applicant's abilities, experience, and knowledge and prevent pay discrimination.
Protections for workers employed by government contractors will be provided under a similar plan.
A proposal has been released by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to forbid federal contractors and subcontractors from obtaining and taking into account information on a job applicant's past earnings when making hiring or salary decisions for employees working on government contracts.
Additionally, the plan mandates that wage ranges be disclosed in job advertisements by contractors and subcontractors.
According to administration officials, the plan will assist government contractors in attracting, attracting, and retaining personnel as well as enhancing work satisfaction, performance, and lowering attrition.
The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act's Impact and Ongoing Challenges
The first measure that then-President Barack Obama signed into law after taking office in 2009 was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The vice president was Biden.
After learning that she was being paid less for performing the same work at a Goodyear plant than her male coworkers, Ledbetter filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, which ultimately resulted in legislation that bears her name.
The White House Budget Office's Shalanda Young stated that the legislation closed long-standing racial and gender wage disparities and included significant safeguards against pay discrimination.
During the same call, Kiran Ahuja, the head of the Federal Personnel Office, stated that when it comes to pay, the government "does a pretty decent job."
The federal government's wage disparity in 2022 was 5.6%, while the national average was 16%. According to Ahuja, there is less than 1% salary disparity among the federal government's highest ranking officials.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, there is a $9,990 difference between what women earn and what men earn. With that amount, a working woman could cover roughly 64 weeks of food, seven months' worth of mortgage and utility payments, roughly nine months' worth of rent, or more than a year's worth of additional child care.