The federal Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) has released a new outreach and education poster, “Opening Doors to Opportunity for All Workers,” which highlights the obligation of employers to treat workers fairly and without discrimination, including paying workers fairly, and the OFCCP’s role in enforcing that agenda. The poster was developed from feedback received from community stakeholders.
Pay Fairness by Executive Order
Although the outreach and education poster is optional, its release is timed with two recent Executive Orders that extend fair pay protections to employees of federal contractors. Specifically, Executive Orders 13665 and 13673 are intended to increase pay equality and paycheck transparency among employees of federal contractors and subcontractors.
- Executive Order 13665 – Non-retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information – prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against any employee or applicant for discussing, disclosing or inquiring about their compensation or that of another employee or applicant.
- Executive Order 13673 – Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces – requires federal contractors and subcontractors to include in pay statements the hours worked, overtime hours, pay, and any additions to or deductions from pay.
Transparency and Accountability
Prohibiting pay secrecy policies and requiring paycheck transparency translates into greater employer accountability and fairness in pay practices. As OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu observed, “workers cannot solve a problem unless they are able to identify it. And they cannot identify it if they aren’t free to talk about it without fear of reprisal.”
Notice and Disclosure
The pay transparency order (EO 13665), and the proposed rule implementing EO 13665, will require government contractors to notify employees and job applicants of the protection from discrimination on the basis of discussing pay in handbooks and manuals and through electronic or physical posting in language prescribed by the Director of OFCCP. The rule is expected to be released in final form in soon.
The paycheck transparency order (EO 13673), and the proposed guidance and rules implementing EO 13673, will require that covered contractors and subcontractors provide each worker with a wage statement every pay period including the prescribed elements from which the accuracy of each paycheck can be verified. The public comment deadline on the proposed rules is August 26.
The Obama administration and OFCCP’s focus on pay equity and transparency is budgeted to remain an enforcement priority in 2016. Therefore, government contractors and subcontractors should review compensation policies and practices to ensure they are in compliance and ready for final regulations.