On Tuesday (August 29), the White House put an end to a planned Obama-era initiative that would have mandated companies to disclose workers’ pay alongside their race, ethnicity, and gender. And self-proclaimed equal pay advocate Ivanka Trump wants you to know that the rule’s shelving has her full approval.
Known as Obama’s “Equal Pay Rule,” the initiative was introduced in January 2016 and would have required all employers with 100 workers or more to provide data about wages. It was a move designed to bolster transparency and expose pay discrimination, and it would have covered about 63 million workers. But in a statement obtained by the Wall Street Journal
, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Neomi Rao called the rule “enormously burdensome.”
“Among other things, (we’re) concerned that some aspects of the revised collection of information lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues,” Rao wrote. “We don’t believe it would actually help us gather information about wage and employment discrimination.”
“Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” Ms. Trump told the Wall Street Journal
. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.”
This leaves us to wonder — if mandating companies’ disclosure of workers’ wage data wouldn’t lead to greater pay transparency, what does Trump think would? As far as those “burdensome” claims go, such a rule would simply have involved reporting additional data on the EEO-1 form that employers are already required to submit yearly. This decades-old form is used to collect intel on the racial and gender composition of America’s workforce; adding wage data to it could have worked wonders in exposing discriminatory pay practices.
Clearly, the motivation here in discarding the Equal Pay Rule is to protect corporations — not the discriminated-against workers Trump has repeatedly tried to cast herself as champion of.