Companies with more than 100 employees will have to report to the U.S. government data about how much workers are paid, broken down by sex, race and ethnicity, possibly as soon as this spring, according to a new court ruling.
The pay disclosures were finalized by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the summer of 2016, but the Office of Management and Budget froze the expanded requirements after President Trump took office. The National Women's Law Center and other groups sued, and on March 4, Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled in their favor, saying that the government didn't properly justify its decision.
The OMB could appeal, and it's not clear whether companies will have to comply by the original deadline of May 31. Still, the decision comes amid a rising global push to get companies to show that their pay practices are fair. Under shareholder pressure, most of the big U.S. banks last year released modified information on the gender pay gaps in their workforce.
The U.K.'s new gender pay gap reporting requirements are entering their second year.
"This is part of a real cultural shift we're seeing around transparency in pay," said Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice for the National Women's Law Center, one of the groups that sued to get the wage information included. "In order to have equal and fair pay, employees need more information about their employers' pay policies. So this is one step, but it's not the last step."
Employers already submit demographic data to the EEOC annually. The new disclosures would call for more granular analysis, requiring them to report the racial and gender makeup of employees in each job category (executive level, professionals, sales workers, etc.) within 12 pay ranges, for each of a company's physical locations. The current form fits on one page. The expanded form could need 10.
"It's kind of in the weeds, really technical detailed stuff," said Michael Eastman, senior vice president with the Center for Workplace Compliance. "That's where the burden comes in."