President Donald Trump's administration is eliminating a former President Barack Obama administration policy that would have required business owners to document how much they pay their workers according to gender, race and ethnicity.
The policy, which was intended to remedy the pay inequality among different minority groups, was due to go into effect in 2017, reports Newsweek.
According to the policy, employers with 100 or more employees would be required to submit the data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Proponents of the plan argue it would have created an evidence-based foundation on which to address pay discrimination.
“We’d learn about a pay-discrimination problem because someone saw a piece of paper left on a copy machine or someone was complaining about their salary to co-workers,” Jenny Yang, who was chairwoman of the EEOC and is now its commissioner, said when the plan was proposed.
However, a current EEOC administrator, Neomi Raom, is critical of the plan. “We don’t believe it would actually help us gather information about wage and employment discrimination," she said.
The White House also asserted that the plan would not comply with the federal Paperwork Reduction Act because of the volume of data that would be required and collected.
Administration officials also doubted whether the data would actually reflect the realities of pay disparity.
Ivanka Trump, who has previously spoken in favor of equal pay for women, backed the administration's decision.
“Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap."
However, civil rights groups have condemned the decision, reports Common Dreams.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called it "shameful."
The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) said the move represented "a clear message to employers: if you want to ignore pay inequities and sweep them under the rug, this Administration has your back."
Fatima Goss Graves of the NWLC said: "We see through the Trump Administration's call to halt the equal pay rule that requires employers to collect and submit pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity to the government ... Make no mistake -- it's an all-out attack on equal pay."
The pay gap between male and female White House staffers has more than tripled in the first year of the Trump administration, reports The Washington Post, citing a study by economist Mark Perry of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
According to Perry's figures, the median female White House employee is being paid $72,650 in 2017, compared to the median male salary of $115,000.
“The typical female staffer in Trump's White House earns 63.2 cents per $1 earned by a typical male staffer,” Perry writes.
Perry's 2017 analysis excludes Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who are not being paid for their roles as advisers to the president.