A letter being sent to all civilian federal employees by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Personnel Management is vowing “the most rigorous possible enforcement” of equal pay laws for federal employees.
The joint memorandum from OPM director John Berry and EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien notes that women in the federal government are still paid less for the same work than their male counterparts. While the gender wage gap for federal employees declined from 28 cents on the dollar in 1987 to 11 cents in 2007, “clearly much work remains to be done in order to close the wage gap,” the letter states.
Berrien released the letter Tuesday at the commission’s Examining Conflicts in Employment Law conference in Baltimore, a training event for federal sector equal employment that continues through Thursday.
“We cannot achieve our national commitment to equal employment opportunity until women are included as equal partners in every workplace, including the federal government,” Berrien said in a statement. “The federal government should be a model employer in every regard—including equal pay.”
The National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force established by President Obama recommended last year that OPM and EEOC develop a strategy to improve the federal government’s performance.
The memorandum said the two agencies are working with the Government Accountability Office to identify the reasons for the remaining federal wage gap and find ways to close it.