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Employers can breathe a sigh of relief: The EEOC’s initiative to collect summary pay and hours worked data in the new EEO-1 form has ended … for now, at least.

Just last year, on September 26, 2016, the EEOC announced that the annual EEO-1 reporting process would change for covered employers (private employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50+ employees). Beginning in March 2018, covered employers would be required to submit summary pay data and aggregate hours worked by employees in the 10 EEO job categories (which did not change), in addition to the demographic data (gender, race and ethnicity) already reported on the annual EEO-1 form.  The EEOC redesigned its EEO-1 form and extended the submission deadline from September 30, 2017 to March 31, 2018 to provide employers time to collect and organize the new data.

The EEOC’s initiative was not popular among employers, who asserted: (1) that summary pay data information (to be reported in 12 “pay bands” per EEO job category) would not identify unlawful pay discrimination, as claimed by the EEOC, and (2) that compliance would be burdensome as payroll and timekeeping systems were not programed to collect and aggregate pay and hours data in the manner required by the new EEO-1 form.

On August 29, 2017, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), after lobbying by employer groups and several U.S. Senators, stayed implementation of the new EEO-1 form. The basis for the stay is the EEOC’s potential non-compliance with the notice and burden estimate requirements of the federal Paperwork Reduction Act.

The result: The “old” EEO-1 form – which collects aggregate gender, race and ethnicity information for employees by job category – is back for 2017.  The deadline for submission of the 2017 form is March 31, 2018.  Please note that the form will still collect data for the year 2017.

Will the updated EEO-1 form come back in 2018? It is too soon to know.  In issuing the stay, the OMB notified the EEOC that it was required to submit a new information packet for the updated EEO-1 form to the OMB for review.  There is no deadline for the EEOC to do so.

My prediction: The initiative to collect pay data on the EEO-1 form will not resurface.  In commenting on the stay, EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic (who had voted against the updated EEO-1 form) stated that while the “EEOC remains committed to strong enforcement of … federal equal pay laws,” she “hope[s] that [the OMB’s] decision will prompt a discussion of more effective solutions to encourage employers to review their compensation practices to ensure equal pay and close the wage gap.”