The National Association of Manufacturers joined with other trade associations in filing an amicus brief against the abrupt implementation of an onerous Obama-era labor regulation. The rule would require employers to provide data that the government isn’t even capable of processing yet—at a cost of more than a billion dollars to businesses.
For decades, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has required employers to report annual workforce data using broad “job bands” to aggregate and monitor diversity in the workforce. A 2016 Obama-era regulation (that was later delayed pending further review) extends this required employer reporting, forcing businesses to also report pay data relating to race, sex and ethnicity to the EEOC as well. Now, following a ruling by a judge last month, employers have been told that not only do they have to start reporting this new separate band of information—but the pay data is due on September 30, leaving them insufficient time to collect that information.
Manufacturers will have to pick one payroll period’s worth of data from 2018 to report before the September deadline. As the amicus brief notes, collecting this sort of data proactively, a much easier task, would still require 18 months of lead time—doing so retroactively in less than six months is simply impractical. The NAM-submitted brief also notes the complexity of implementing such a change: “The EEO-1 Report requires 180 data points. The Revised EEO-1 Report, by contrast, would require employers to submit 3,660 data points for each employer location.” Moreover, “EEOC’s Revised EEO-1 Report exceeds $400 million in pure labor costs alone, and carries a total burden of $1.3 billion per year for all businesses employing 100 or more employees.”
There is no switch to flip that would allow employers to begin complying with this new regulation by the proposed deadline. What’s more, EEOC publicly admits it is “not capable of collecting” the data. The government also filed a response explaining that any collection without proper lead time and infrastructure will result in poor quality data. So, manufacturers are facing a regulation being implemented on an impractical timeline requiring them to collect data that has “never been organized or previously produced.” The NAM continues to fight against this burdensome regulation—made worse by an unrealistic timeline—that does nothing to guarantee equal pay for equal work.