Mick Mulvaney, the newly installed Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), may still be measuring the drapes for his new office, but he has a real and immediate opportunity to ease some of the unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on employers over the last eight years. So earlier this week, a group of 27 trade associations – lead by the Chamber of Commerce – asked Director Mulvaney to stay or rescind EEOC’s compensation and hours worked reporting form. Here's how he can do it.
As we've previously written, in the waning months of the Obama administration, the EEOC rammed through changes to its otherwise-benign employer reporting form - known as the EEO-1 - to force employers to disclose to the government compensation and hours worked information of their employees. While EEOC claims the goal of this exercise is to combat pay discrimination, the information collected from employers is going to be so broad and generalized as to render it useless.
So if it's useless, what's the big deal? Well, this excercise is incredibly expensive. Employers aren't just able to press a button and generate this information, though EEOC seems to think they can. Instead, as the Chamber noted in its comments to OMB, employers will likely spend upwards of $400 million investing in computer software upgrades, training, and compliance counseling in order to satisfy the new reporting requirements. Worse, in the "only-in-Washington,-D.C.” twist, the OMB approved of this exponential increase in employer reporting under a statute called the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Fortunately, that law also allows OMB to review previously approved information collections when the issuing agency's burden estimate was "materially in error." The law and its implementing regulations also give OMB broad authority to stay the information collection or take other remedial action in such a situation.
This is what the 27 trade associations have presented to Director Mulvaney. Sure, it may not necessarily fit neatly within the “2 for 1” regulatory Executive Order, but it sure cuts down on the unnecessary and costly red tape that the current administration has vowed to undo. The law gives Mulvaney the authority to take these steps. Let’s hope he does.
You can read the coalition letter here.