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Equal Pay Day 2022: Biden White House announces steps aimed at narrowing the gender pay gap for federal employees

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Tuesday will announce a series of steps aimed at closing the gender and racial pay gap, with Vice President Kamala Harris hosting a virtual meeting at the White House to mark Equal Pay Day.

The steps include a new regulation for the entire federal workforce that bans the use of past pay histories in employee hiring and salary determination processes, which the administration said in a fact sheet “can help break the cycle of past arbitrary and potentially discriminatory pay.” Follow women and workers of color from job to job, anchoring gender and racial pay gaps over time.

President Joe Biden will also sign an executive order to restrict federal contractors’ access to previous salary history of applicants and employees when setting salaries, and the government said it will try to ensure equitable access to “well-paying” jobs , and found that women are “relatively under-represented” in many high-paying occupations.

“For over 25 years, Equal Pay Day has helped draw attention to the gender pay gap by highlighting how far into a new year, on average, a woman has to work to earn what a man did the previous year has,” Biden said in a proclamation Monday.

“This year, Equal Pay Day falls on March 15, the earliest day we’ve ever observed. The sooner this Equal Pay Day comes, the closer our nation is to achieving pay equity. But while we should celebrate the progress we’ve made, as I’ve said in the past, we shouldn’t settle until Equal Pay Day isn’t necessary at all,” he added.

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Biden will also make comments on the occasion.

Black women lost $39.3 billion and Hispanic women $46.7 billion in wages in 2019 compared to their white male counterparts because of their involvement in what, according to Labor Department estimates released Tuesday the Department refers to as “low-wage sectors” such as care and hospitality.

“Women — particularly women of color — have historically been over-represented in jobs in sectors where they pay less,” a senior administration official told reporters Monday. “The government is improving access to good-paying jobs for women and people of color in sectors where jobs are being created … and where women have historically been underrepresented.”

Harris will be joined at Tuesday’s gathering by current and former members of the US women’s national team, who reached a $24 million settlement in a dispute over equal pay with US Soccer last month. The dispute, which stemmed from a gender discrimination lawsuit filed against US Soccer in March 2019, was settled with both parties agreeing to equal pay for women’s and men’s national teams.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Office of Human Resources Director Kiran Ahuja and other Cabinet Secretaries are also expected to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

The announcements are expected to build on other steps the government has taken, including its Covid-19 relief package that is providing financial support to childcare workers. The White House estimates that more than 9 in 10 childcare workers are women and more than 4 in 10 are women of color.

In Monday’s proclamation, Biden repeatedly called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which he said would “help mitigate gender pay discrimination while increasing transparency and reporting of pay differentials.”

The bill, which was not approved by the Senate last year, would, according to the law, “provide more effective remedies for victims of discrimination in the payment of wages based on sex”.

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https://abc13.com/gender-pay-gap-women-equal-day-2022-biden/11653232/ Equal Pay Day 2022: Biden White House announces steps aimed at narrowing the gender pay gap for federal employees

Dais Johnston

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