President Obama is trying to reduce gender discrimination in contractor pay. (Getty Images)
This story, originally published April 7, has been updated.
Federal contractors will have to submit wage and salary data broken out by race and gender to the Labor Department under a presidential memo released April 8.
The data will be used to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and to allow for more targeted enforcement of wage discrimination based on gender or race, according to an administration official.
President Obama also signed an executive order April 8 prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss compensation — which will give workers a way of discovering violations of equal pay laws in their workplace.
“If women do not even know that that they are underpaid, they cannot take steps to remedy the pay gap,” the official said.
The order does not compel workers to discuss their pay or require employers to publicly release pay data, according to the official.
The new requirements are part of an effort by President Obama to act on fair pay initiatives while Congress considers the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strenghten the penalties for wage discrimination violations and expand the data reporting requirements to all employers.
“The president is leading by example by using the pen to act where he can on this issue, and will continue to urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure all employers are held to the same high standard working women deserve,” the official said.