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    News Release

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011
    Contact: Brittney Manchester
    Tel: 202-606-2402

    OPM and EEOC Work to Address the "Gender Wage Gap" in the Federal Government

    Washington, DC - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a joint memorandum regarding equal pay in the federal government. According to a 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the gender wage gap for federal employees declined from 28 cents on the dollar in 1987 to 11 cents in 2007. Of that 11 cents gap, seven cents could not be explained by differences in education, years of service, or other non-discriminatory factors. The gap is much larger for women working in the private sector who are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar paid to men with even lower numbers for African American women and Latinas.

    "Equal pay for equal work is the law, it's right, and its time has come. OPM and the EEOC are working together to ensure that federal equal pay laws are vigorously enforced in the federal workplace," said OPM Director John Berry. "Ensuring equal pay for equal work without regard to gender, or any other prohibited basis helps us recruit and retain the most talented workforce to serve the American people. While this wage gap is smaller in the federal government than in other sectors, much work remains to be done to ensure that the federal government is a model employer."

    In 2010 President Obama established the National Equal Pay Task Force, bringing together OPM, EEOC, the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice. This Task Force recommended that OPM and the EEOC work together to "implement a strategy to improve the federal government's role as a model employer." On July 20, 2010, Vice President Biden released the Recommendations of the National Equal Pay Task Force, providing a road map for federal agencies working to increase compliance with federal compensation discrimination laws. The full text of the Equal Pay Task Force Recommendations may be found at

    "We cannot achieve our national commitment to equal employment opportunity until women are included as equal partners in every workplace, including the federal government," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. "The federal government should be a model employer in every regard—including equal pay."

    The Equal Pay Act requires the federal government pay men and woman equal pay for equal work. The jobs do not need to be identical, but they must be substantially equal. All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses and all benefits.

    To view the Equal Pay in the Federal Government joint memorandum, please visit:

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    OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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