Last month, the White House Office of Management and Budget announced that it was putting on hold a rule proposed by the Obama administration in 2016 that would have required organizations with more than 100 employees to submit summary pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each year showing what employees of each gender, race, and ethnicity earn. This reversal relieves employers of what opponents say are overly burdensome and costly regulations that would do nothing to address pay gaps.
For large employers in California, however, that relief may be short-lived. At the firm’s blog about California employment law, Seyfarth Shaw attorneys point to a piece of legislation that went to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk this week that would “require companies with at least 500 employees to compute differences between the wages of male and female exempt employees and board members located in California and file the report with the California Secretary of State,” which would then publish this information for public view:
If the bill is signed by Gov. Brown, beginning on July 1, 2019, and biennially thereafter, impacted employers will have to collect and compute:
- The difference between the wages of male and female exempt employees in California using both the mean and median wages in each job classification or title.
- The difference between the mean and median wages of male board members and female board members located in California.
- The number of employees used for these determinations.
This information would then be reported to the California SOS by January 1, 2020 (and biennially thereafter) on a form categorized consistent with Labor Code Section 1197.5—the California Fair Pay Act (“FPA”).
The bill, they add, does not establish that a gender wage gap in this information is a violation of the Fair Pay Act, but opponents claim it would not need to, as it “effectively forces employers to hand over to potential plaintiffs all information they might need to file a lawsuit, without any context that would explain permissible differentials.”
A few months after a public disclosure of high-earner compensation data revealed a significant pay gap between male and female stars at the BBC, the UK’s national broadcaster has announced a series of investigations into its pay practices and gender pay gap. BBC Director General Tony Hall revealed on Wednesday that he had commissioned PwC and the law firm Eversheds Sutherland to conduct an independent equal pay audit of the company, which will also produce an internal report on the gender pay gap and conduct a review of pay and diversity among its on-air talent:
Speaking to staff on Wednesday, Lord Hall said the BBC report on gender pay would cover the whole corporation and be independently audited, adding that he is “determined to close the gap”. … He said [the external audit] would “make sure that, where there are differences in pay, they’re justified”, adding: “If it throws up issues, we’ll deal with them immediately.”
The review of on-air talent will focus on presenters, editors and correspondents in BBC News and radio, he said. “Of course, we’ll be looking at pay – but also representation,” he said. “As I hope you know, we’ve set really ambitious targets – not just on gender, but on diversity more broadly.
In response to Hall, several leading women at the BBC circulated a statement on Twitter under the hashtag #BBCWomen, in which they stressed that the director “must be in no doubt about how serious an issue equal and fair pay is for women across the organisation,” and suggested that the target date he had previously set of 2020 for closing the gender pay gap was not soon enough:
In a major step toward Brexit, the UK government on Thursday published the “repeal bill” through which it will decouple the UK from the legal, political, and financial institutions of the EU, as well as incorporate those aspects of European law it intends to retain into domestic law. The prospect of a repeal bill had raised concerns that the legal protections UK employees enjoy, some of which are derived from EU policy, might be weakened after Britain leaves the union, but the government has insisted that employee rights will not be discarded.
In keeping with that promise, the Department for Exiting the European Union says regulations derived from the EU’s Working Time Directive and Agency Workers’ Directive will remain in place after Brexit, and that past European Court of Justice rulings pertaining to employee rights will continue to apply in the UK, Jo Faragher reports at Personnel Today:
Rachel Farr, senior lawyer in the employment, pensions and mobility group at law firm Taylor Wessing, said: “The Bill makes it clear that EU-derived UK legislation, such as TUPE 2006, will continue to apply after the exit day, whilst EU Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation will also remain in effect in the UK. “This confirms that companies and their HR teams should continue to think about how they will be handling employee data in compliance with the new rules.”