On the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the White House announced new rules intended to promote equal pay for federal workers and contractors.
The new rules, which have yet to take effect, apply to federal agencies and contractors. The rule would prohibit these employers from seeking and using information about job applicants' salary history when making employment decisions.
The rule could apply to many major U.S. companies with government contracts, including defense, communications and pharmaceutical companies. The rules might apply pressure to companies to eliminate hiring questions that include salary history and similar inquiries.
White House officials noted that the pay gap between men and women has gotten smaller over the years. As of 2022, a woman over age 25 working a full-time job would make $83.70 for every $100 a man over age 25 would make at a full-time job, according to Department of Labor statistics.
The gap in pay between men and women has closed by about half since the 1980s. But the Biden administration says more needs to be done.
The announcement of the new rules comes 15 years after President Barack Obama signed a bill that clarified discriminatory pay practices. Before the 2009 law's enactment, federal law stipulated that men and women must be paid equally for comparable work. However, the 2009 law stipulated that violations of the law could be challenged after each paycheck and not just at the time of hiring.
This meant a longtime employee suing their company for wage discrimination would have more time to take their employer to court.
"People challenging a wide variety of practices that resulted in discriminatory compensation can benefit from the Act's passage. These practices may include employer decisions about base pay or wages, job classifications, career ladder or other noncompetitive promotion denials, tenure denials, and failure to respond to requests for raises," the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.
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