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Gingersnap
07-22-2010, 10:00 AM
White House Backs Bill to Collect Employee Pay Information from Businesses

Thursday, July 22, 2010
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Congress should pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including calling for the collection of data by the federal government about how much Americans workers are paid. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration is backing legislation that includes regulations requiring U.S. businesses to provide to the government data about employee pay as it relates to the sex, race and national origin of employees.

In an orchestrated effort that included a statement by President Barack Obama and an event at the White House featuring Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the president and his cabinet endorsed the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The House approved the act in 2009, but the Senate did not approve it. In the 111th Congress, both the House and the Senate have offered legislation that covers a wide range of workplace requirements and regulations, including training girls and women to become better at negotiating pay and benefits, and the establishment of a data base of U.S. workers’ pay in both the public and private sector.

At the White House on Tuesday, Biden was the keynote speaker at a Middle Class Task Force event where he told invited guests that the Obama administration is “on the right side of history” by passing legislation to ensure women are paid the same as their male counterparts.

“Women make up nearly half of all workers on U.S. payrolls, and two-thirds of families with children are headed either by two working parents or by a single parent who works,” Biden said.

“Yet, the workplace has, for the most part, not changed to reflect these realities – and it must. Closing the gender pay gap, helping parents keep their jobs while balancing family responsibilities, and increasing workplace flexibility – these are not only women’s issues, they are issues of middle class economic security,” he said.

(snip)

Attorney General Eric Holder was at the White House event with Biden and pledged to crack down on American businesses that discriminate against employees based on sex, race or country of origin. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)In a White House-issued press release, the “enhancement of enforcement” is described as “a pledge by the Department of Justice and other enforcement agencies will coordinate and collaborate through investigations, litigation, policy guidance, data analysis, and public education efforts to make meaningful progress in closing the wage gap,” the press release stated.

“Already, the Justice Department, in conjunction with the EEOC and four of its district offices, has launched a robust and intensive pilot program to coordinate the investigation and litigation of charges against state and local government employers,” it added.

But critics charge that the Paycheck Fairness Act will be harmful to small businesses and the economy. The National Association of Manufacturers issued a statement about the bill in April.

“The Paycheck Fairness Act, which purports to prevent instances of illegal gender-based discrimination, could outlaw many legitimate practices employers use to set employee pay rates, even where there is no evidence of intentional discrimination and employers act with reasonable belief that their pay policies are lawful,” the statement said.

“Manufacturers strongly oppose unlawful discrimination in any form, but the Paycheck Fairness Act would impose unparalleled government control over how employees are paid, among even the nation’s smallest businesses,” it added.

“It would drastically alter the Equal Pay Act to allow unprecedented penalties of unlimited punitive and compensatory damages in cases of alleged discrimination,” the statement said.

James Sherk, Bradley Fellow in Labor Policy in the Center for Data Analysis at conservative The Heritage Foundation, said that the law would be a boon to trial lawyers seeking damages from employers for their clients and would allow the courts to “micro-manage” American businesses.

First of all, the IRS already collects a huge amount of information on Americans but secondly, this will just backfire spectacularly.

That old lie about the 77 cents is being trotted out again. What they will discover (and what every manager already knows) is that many women do not put as much time in on the job as their male counterparts. Women take time off to have kids and when they return to work they want hours that allow them to leave early to pick kids up or attend attend kid-related functions. A lot of women go to part-time until their kids are in middle school or high school; others want to job-share. None of them want to travel.

A woman who works exactly like a man gets paid the same. It would be completely unfair to compensate a woman exactly like her male colleague when over a 10 year period he'd showed up during all 10 years and she had been actually working only 7 of those 10 years when you add up all the hours.

CNS ( http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/69746)