Biden and Harris announce steps to close gender, racial pay gaps

By Jarrett Renshaw and Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday announced steps to close gender and racial pay gaps and increase the profitability of new federal workers and federal contractors.

The White House made the announcements to mark Equal Pay Day, which draws attention to gender-based pay gaps.

“Gender equality is not a woman’s issue. It benefits everyone,” Biden said in a room filled with nearly 400 women – the largest indoor gathering in the White House since he took office.

Among the steps taken was a decree signed by Biden limiting the use of pay history in hiring decisions by federal contractors. The Personnel Management Office also began work on addressing the use of payroll history in the hiring and hiring process for federal employees.

On average, women working full-time earn only 83 cents for every dollar a man earns, Vice President Harris said earlier in the day. The gap is even bigger for colored women, she said. Over the course of a 40-year career, a woman will lose about $ 400,000, and that pay gap is closer to $ 1 million for colored women, she added.

“Lower wages mean working women have less money – less money to save today. And lower wages mean they receive lower social benefits in their senior year,” Harris said.

Current and former members of the U.S. national women’s soccer team, who last month reached a $ 24 million deal on an equal pay dispute with US Soccer, joined the president at the White House event on Tuesday.

The dispute, which dates back to a lawsuit about gender discrimination in March 2019 against American football, was resolved with both parties agreeing on equal pay rates for the women’s and men’s national teams.

(Additional reporting by Alexandra AlperEditing by Chris Reese and Karishma Singh)

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