President Obama signed an executive order that forces federal contractors to allow employees to discuss their pay with each other.
The move comes as part of the president’s “zero tolerance” policy for gender wage gaps.
He also signed a presidential memorandum requiring contractors to report pay data based on sex and race to the Labor Department. White House officials said both actions will encourage transparency.
“Pay secrecy fosters discrimination, and we should not tolerate it, not in federal contracting or anywhere else,” Obama said.
“There are great employers out there who do the right thing, and there are plenty of employers out there who are absolutely certain that there’s no pay discrimination happening in their offices, but then sometimes when the data’s laid out, it paints a different picture,” Obama said. “We want to encourage them to fix these problems, if they exist, by making sure that the data’s out there.”
Statistics from the latest U.S. Census show that nationwide on average, full-time working women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.
For White House staff, women earn 88 cents to every dollar a man earns.
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