President Barack Obama signs executive actions, with pending Senate legislation, aimed at closing a compensation gender gap that favors men, Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, during an event marking Equal Pay Day. Obama announced new executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women. The president and his Democratic allies in Congress are making a concerted election-year push to draw attention to women’s wages. Lilly Ledbetter, in green, watches at left. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Continuing on his bold push for economic fairness, President Barack Obama signed a pair of executive orders on Tuesday. One order was specifically aimed at bolstering the right to equal pay for women, while the other mandates that federal contractors are barred from retaliating against employees who wish to discuss their pay at the workplace and with their supervisors.
That order also allows employers to not have to display pay rates although the order is aimed to encourage transparency.
Since coming to office, the president has been firm on the issue of women obtaining fair and equal pay after signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009. The timeliness of the executive order is linked to the Paycheck Fairness Act, another law being considered this week by the Senate. This also adds to the president’s efforts on increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors. Obama has asked Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help women across the nation stand against pay discrimination.
The second of the orders is directly focused on the discussing of compensation between employers and federal contractors.
While there exists a legal barrier between employer and employee regarding the discussion of pay in the workplace, it is part of a larger plan to help inspire fair and equal pay across all demographics.
Obama will ask that the U.S. Secretary of Labor to put in place rules that will require federal contractors to submit to the government summary data on employee compensation which also shares details on sex and race. The Labor Department would use the collected data to encourage voluntary compliance with equal pay laws.
Obama, as he stated at this year’s State Of The Union address, has made economic equality a hallmark of his presidency. Bypassing Congress, which has deadlocked on many of his proposed measures, the president is using the Executive Orders to get many of his plans in motion.
To see the fact sheet on President Obama’s most recent Executive Orders, click here.