Today, at a White House Middle Class Task Force forum hosted by Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced several department initiatives designed to end wage discrimination while improving pay equity and work/life balance.
“Pay equity is a core family issue,” said Secretary Solis. “More money in a woman’s paycheck means a working family not having to choose between paying the mortgage, buying groceries, or buying necessary school supplies.”
Through a collaborative effort among the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the administration will ensure strategic enforcement of pay discrimination cases. In addition to hiring nearly 200 additional enforcement staff, OFCCP will publish an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking early next year that will seek input from stakeholders on how to improve the Equal Opportunity survey. The Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau will also launch new public education efforts including an Equal Pay Checklist, a revamped Equal Pay Employer Self-Audit tool, and an Equal Pay Research Summit.
“In addition to closing the gender pay gap, we must also increase workplace flexibility,” added Secretary Solis. “America’s families have evolved, so helping parents and other caregivers keep their jobs while balancing their responsibilities in the home is key to our long-term economic success.”
To address issues related to work/life balance, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division will conduct a new Family and Medical Leave Act survey in 2011 to provide insight into how families use leave. The survey will provide a baseline data collection of current family workplace policies and practices, as well as information on regulatory changes. In addition, the Women’s Bureau intends to sponsor a supplement to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey in 2011. The supplement will gather more information on parental leave, child care, family leave insurance program usage, and other issues related to the intersection of work and family responsibilities. The Women’s Bureau will also build on the White House’s Flexibility Forum by hosting a series of “National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility” forums across the country.
For more information on the Middle Class Task Force, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/strongmiddleclass/.