President Obama released his fiscal year 2016 budget proposal that includes nearly $113.7 million in annual appropriations to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”). This proposed budget is an increase of approximately 7 percent. Per the Administration, this additional funding will be used to combat “systemic pay discrimination” and to develop an improved enforcement case management database system. Included in the OFCCP’s outline of their enforcement priorities and initiatives for 2016 were:
- Continuing to focus on “systemic pay discrimination to help narrow the persistent pay gap based on sex and race,”
- Hiring ten new “specialized staff with expertise in conducting the complex data analysis necessary for evaluating pay practices”;
- Implementing new regulations regarding pay disclosures, sex discrimination, and collection of compensation data
Systemic discrimination involves a pattern or practice, policy, or class case where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company or geographic area. Examples of systemic practices include: discriminatory barriers in recruitment and hiring; discriminatorily restricted access to management trainee programs and to high level jobs; exclusion of qualified women from traditionally male dominated fields of work; disability discrimination such as unlawful pre-employment inquiries; age discrimination in reductions in force and retirement benefits; and compliance with customer preferences that result in discriminatory placement or assignments.
The OFCCP has broad audit and enforcement authority and conducts approximately 4,000 audits per year. If your company does business with the federal government you are most likely a federal contractor. If your company does business with another company who holds direct contracts with the federal government, you are a subcontractor. See- DOL OFCCP Federal Contractor Compliance Advisor . The OFCCP requires federal government contractors and subcontractors to ensure equal employment opportunity on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex through affirmative action and nondiscrimination. Compensation discrimination is one form of employment discrimination prohibited by the Executive Order.
Efforts to address compensation disparities between male and female workers are front and center. New laws, such as the Ledbetter Act and the implementation of new tools for agency investigations are dramatically expanding enforcement efforts on compensation equality. There is also an effort by the federal agencies, including OFCCP, EEOC and DOJ to coordinate amongst themselves in investigations.
You need to know if you are a federal contractor or subcontractor and what filing and reporting requirements you have to comply with these regulations. Additionally you need to have policies, guidelines and fair pay practices in place to ensure equal, fair and competitive pay and annual self-audits are highly recommended as an additional safety net.
WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes. Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs. We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.