EEOC to take another swing at pay data collection, regulatory agenda shows

After some stops and starts over the past decade, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission appears poised to again pursue pay data collection, according to its spring regulatory agenda released Friday. EEOC said it expects to propose a rule in January 2025.

The EEOC first added pay data collection requirements to the 2017 EEO-1 process under the Obama administration, but the White House Office of Management and Budget under the Trump administration halted the effort, citing the Paperwork Reduction Act.

A judge then put the requirements back into effect in March 2019 — just 12 weeks before employers’ submissions were due — but EEOC abandoned the initiative after just one cycle, saying an internal analysis found it “insufficiently calculated” the burden of EEO-1 data collection on employers. 

While the agency backed down in 2019, it remained committed to the concept of a collection effort and commissioned a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to evaluate the data quality.

Released in July 2022, the study noted the data was incomplete, with around two-thirds of eligible firms asked for data for pay analysis and more than one-third of data found to be unreliable due to “extreme errors.” It also pointed to the data showing only a partial reflection of total compensation and highlighted other problems with job and worker categorization. 

In addition to its critiques, however, NASEM found the data had potential to be valuable. It outlined a number of suggestions to improve the process. “The report’s conclusions and recommendations will help inform the EEOC’s approach to future data collections,” the agency said in its announcement.

The EEOC notice was among thousands of proposed or completed actions detailed by agencies in Friday’s 2024 Spring Regulatory Agenda

According to a White House blog post, the agenda highlights and builds on the administration’s efforts to involve the public in rulemaking. “Hearing from the people, businesses, and other stakeholders most impacted by a particular issue or problem can help agencies better understand how to effectively address that issue, leading to better, more targeted rulemaking that is more responsive, effective, durable, and equitable,” Sam Berger, associate administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote in the post.

EEOC said it would seek public comment on its pay data collection rule.