Mar 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden to take steps to address gender pay gap for federal workers

Picture of Joe Biden

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration will mark Equal Pay Day on Tuesday by announcing a series of steps to address the gender pay gap for federal workers.

Driving the news: In the U.S., women earned 82 cents for every dollar a man earned in 2020, according to the the U.S. Census Bureau, citing Bureau of Labor statistics.

  • Additionally, in the third quarter of 2020 (the most recent national data), women earned approximately 30% less than men — and that pay gap widens even more as they age.

The big picture: President Biden will sign an executive order later Tuesday that will direct government agencies to consider "limiting the use of salary information in employment decisions by federal contractors," a senior administration official told reporters.

  • The Office of Personnel Management — which serves as the chief human resources agency and personnel policy manager for the federal government — will also announce that it is considering a regulation on the use of prior salary history when hiring and setting compensation for federal workers.
  • The Labor Department will issue a new directive allowing contractors to conduct pay audits that will help "address and prevent pay disparities based on gender, race, ethnicity, and other factors," according to a senior administration official.

What they're saying: "Banning the use of prior salary history can help break the cycle of past arbitrary and potentially discriminatory pay that can follow women and workers of color from job to job, entrenching gender and racial pay gaps over time," the White House said, per NBC News.

Of note: Several states have laws that make it illegal for employers to ask prospective employees about their previous salaries.

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