If you’re a federal employee, go ahead and ask your co-workers how much they make— President Obama wants you to.
The President recently signed an executive order commemorating Equal Pay Day that bars any federal contractors from taking retaliatory measures against employees who discuss their pay with each other.
A second executive order requires federal contractors to disclose compensation data to the Department of Labor in order to increase the transparency of pay for women and minorities.
Approximately one-quarter of the U.S. workforce will be affected by the order, including large government contractors like Boeing, all the way down to small service providers.
According to U.S. News & World Report, Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters, “Often employers don’t realize there is a pay gap until they are confronted with it. Both of these policies are about letting the market do better at monitoring for discrimination before it gets to the point of requiring costly litigation.”
The latest orders build on a previous measure aiming to reduce discriminatory pay practices called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It was named after a woman who worked for Goodyear for nearly two decades before finding out she was making 40% less than her male counterparts.