Biden Is Working To Close The Pay Disparity Between Men And Women In The Federal Workforce

The White House is commemorating Equal Pay Day by taking new steps to close the pay gap between men and women among federal employees and contractors. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order encouraging the government to consider prohibiting federal contractors from asking about job candidates’ previous wage histories. Furthermore, a new Labor Department directive aims to increase government contractors’ responsibility to audit payrolls in order to prevent wage discrepancies based on gender, race, or ethnicity.

The Office of Personnel Management is also considering a regulation to address the use of prior wage history in federal employee hiring and compensation. Equal Pay Day is intended to highlight how much longer women must work in order to earn what men earned the previous year. The coronavirus epidemic has affected women’s labor force participation, according to data, so “what we’re seeing is an artificial constriction,” according to Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center.

For example, women who stayed in the labor field and worked full time throughout the epidemic generally earned more than their peers who lost low-paying employment, indicating that the 2020 results cannot be compared to wage gap data from previous years, according to Tucker. According to a senior administration source who previewed the administration’s efforts on Monday on the condition of anonymity, the Biden administration intends to battle occupational segregation to provide women better access to well-paying jobs, which tend to be male-dominated.

The administration released a national gender policy in October to promote women and girls’ full involvement in society. This year, the government is searching for new strategies to tackle pay inequities and highlighting high-profile attempts to close the wage gap, such as the $24 million discrimination settlement reached by the US women’s national soccer team with US Soccer in February. The settlement includes a promise to match the men’s team’s wages and bonuses.

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“I think we’re going to look back on this moment and just think, ‘Wow, what an incredible turning point in the history of U.S. Soccer that changed the game and changed the world, really, forever,’” star midfielder Megan Rapinoe said at the time. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other government officials scheduled a Tuesday afternoon ceremony with members of the women’s soccer team to commemorate Equal Pay Day. Tucker believes that fair pay is still a long way off, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. In February 2022, there were about 1.1 million fewer women in the labor force than in February 2020, indicating that they are neither working nor looking for a job.

“There was a particular shedding among low-paid workers, and what was left was middle- and higher-paid workers who were insulated from the pandemic,” Tucker said. According to the White House, in 2020, the average woman who worked full-time all year earned 83 cents on the dollar compared to her male counterpart doing the same employment. For Black and Native American women, as well as Latinas, the disparity is significantly worse. Women are affected by this condition even later in life. According to a 2020 Brookings Institution study on women’s retirement, women’s Social Security payouts are on average 80% of men’s.

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