Obama Takes Aim at Contractor Pay Practices

Federal contractors could be forgiven for thinking they’re being picked on by the U.S. government.  President Obama today signed two documents putting those contractors’ pay practices under further scrutiny.

One–an executive order–prohibits contractors from retaliating against their employees because they discuss their pay with each other.

The other, a presidential memorandum, requires the Department of Labor to adopt rules requiring contractors to submit pay data to the department, broken down by race and gender.

Both moves are designed to highlight the Obama administration’s push for equal pay for women, who continue to earn about 77 cents on the dollar for every dollar a man makes.

And since Obama doesn’t have the constitutional authority to command the private sector to close the pay gap, he instead pressures contractors to get with the program.

It’s the latest in a string of executive orders to call attention to labor issues. Previously, Obama hit contractors up by raising their minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and he’s also ordered DOL Secretary Thomas Perez to re-examine the regulations governing overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, to limit the number of employees who are denied overtime for working more than a 40 hour workweek.

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