Poultry groups oppose additional reporting rule

Proposed rule imposes burdensome requirements on contractors to compile, organize and submit extensive compensation data.

THE Joint Poultry Industry Human Resources Council filed comments on Jan. 2 opposing the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' (OFCCP) proposal to require federal contractors to submit yet another regulatory report, the so called annual "Equal Pay Report."

The OFCCP was originally created to enforce, for the benefit of job seekers and wage earners, the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government and now seeks to impose far stricter equal employment rules than required of most employers.

As recently as 2006, OFCCP has sought methods to collect this type of information and has backtracked on implementing a program after it commissioned two studies, both of which found the compensation data would not be useful in predicating systemic discrimination.

Further, in 2012, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) convened a panel to review methods of measuring pay data by gender, race and national origin. The NAS identified many concerns with proposals to collect and analyze this data and made numerous recommendations that it determined should be accomplished before implementing any wage reporting requirement, including preparing a comprehensive plan for the use of the earnings data and conducting a pilot study to test and measure the quality of the data collection. OFCCP chose to ignore the NAS recommendations and proceeded with the proposed rulemaking.

"Ignoring the recommendations of NAS defies common sense. This will just place an additional burden on employers while creating no useful data," said the Council.

While the stated purpose of the Equal Pay Report is to identify pay discrimination, the comment letter explains the collection of aggregate wage data by EEO-1 job categories will not meet the stated goal to identify pay discrimination and will simply add to the employer's administrative burden without providing any meaningful data. Each EEO-1 job category includes a large number of very different jobs, and there are many legitimate non-discriminatory reasons why one employee may be paid more than another within the same EEO-1 job category, including level of responsibility and experience, overtime and shift differentials and geographic location. The aggregate compensation data simply cannot take these differences into consideration and will be of little use to OFCCP or contractors.

The Joint Poultry Industry Human Resources Council is made up of members from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. Collectively, the three organizations represent 95% of the nation's poultry products, and their members generate more than 1.3 million total U.S. jobs.

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