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Employers are to submit employee Forms W-2 wage information to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by March 31, 2018, under a program to improve investigations of possible pay bias, the agency said.
The pay data, which rely on information reported in Box 1 of Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, are to be added to the annual Form EEO-1, Employer Information Report, beginning with the 2017 report, the EEOC said in a news release. The EEOC shares the information on Form EEO-1 with the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which collects pay data from federal contractors and subcontractors.
Collection of the pay data with a new form is to improve investigations of possible pay discrimination, which remains a contributing factor to persistent wage gaps, the agency said Sept. 29 in releasing a sample of the form.
Although the EEOC said it minimized reporting burdens by allowing employers to use the same W-2 wage information they already compile for federal tax purposes rather than data collected using a different period other than calendar year, there remained opposition to the reporting requirements.
The American Payroll Association, in April comments on the original proposal, said it disagreed “with the EEOC that the process to collect EEO-1 pay data will not be complicated.”
There is an additional requirement for employers to report hours worked. The early proposal did not include adoption of FLSA definitions covering hours worked for reporting purposes. The president of the National Payroll Reporting Consortium, Pete Isberg, said that EEOC's adoption of the FLSA definitions “resolved what might otherwise have been ambiguities in EEOC hours-worked recordkeeping expectations.”
“FLSA rules address common questions in distinguishing ‘time worked,' such as waiting or on-call time; breaks and meal periods; pre- and post-work activities; meetings and training; and travel time,” Isberg said Oct. 4 in an e-mail to Bloomberg BNA. “We also suggested a special rule for hours worked in pay periods that span calendar years, which the agency adopted.”
Under the program, private employers, including federal contractors and subcontractors, with at least 100 employees are required to submit the summary pay data, which are not to include individual pay or salaries or any personally identifiable information, the agency said.
The revision did not affect the 2016 EEO-1 report, which was due on Sept. 30 and was not changed. Proposed rules regarding the program were published in the Feb. 1 issue of the Federal Register ( 81 FR 5113).
The new form includes 10 job categories and 12 pay bands. Employers are to count the number of employees they have in each pay band for each job category. If a job category or pay band has no employees, the box on the form is to be left blank.
To select the appropriate band, employers are to “rely on the pay reported for income tax purposes that year in Box 1 of the W-2 form,” the EEOC said. “Note that wages earned after the conclusion of the last full pay period in December are often paid to employees in the next calendar year. For EEO-1 purposes, these wages will be reported for the same year in which they are reported for W-2 purposes.”
Employers also are to report the total number of hours worked by employees in each pay band. Employers may choose how hours are counted for employees who are exempt from coverage using FLSA definitions: 40 hours a week for full-time employees and 20 hours a week for part-time employees, or the exact number of hours worked by employees.
Federal contractors and subcontractors with 50 to 99 employees would not have to report summary pay data, but they would continue to report employees by job category as well as by sex, ethnicity and race. Employers with fewer than 100 employees and federal contractors, and subcontractors with fewer than 49 employees are not required to complete an EEO-1 report.
The data period for the new report is Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017, the agency said. Employers may choose any pay period during the three-month period to count its full- and part-time employees for the EEO-1 report. The EEOC-1 data period for 2016 and earlier reporting years was July 1 to Sept. 30.
Support for employers regarding the new EEO-1 report would be provided in EEOC-sponsored webinars Oct. 20 and Oct. 26, the agency said. For more information, see the EEOC website. A new password would be required for employers to access the 2017 survey, the EEOC firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Baer at email@example.com.
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