Fortunately employers were able to dodge a bullet last year when the White House chose to block the compensation reporting requirements for EEO-1. However, the other responsibilities for reporting are still in place and continue to apply for companies with 100+ employees (and for federal contractors who fit under certain under criteria). While the form does not need to be filed until March 31 of each year, it’s a good idea to keep things in order and know what things need to be taken care of.
By going ahead and addressing any potential issues with your reporting now, you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of hassle and headache going forward–especially since it’s likely that the compensation reporting requirements are still on their way, even if they haven’t been put into place yet.
And, just in case you’re struggling to find the time, keep in mind that the penalties for not complying with the current requirements can be quite hefty, with some errors even warranting imprisonment. When you are able to sit down and think about these things, here are some hacks to make your life easier going forward.
As an employer, one of the biggest challenges brought about by EEO-1 is the self-identification section. You know that employees do not like sharing personal information about their race and gender. But, you need to be collecting this information anyway. The best time to get it is actually when on-boarding your employees, but in case some things fell through the cracks, you should go ahead and put the effort in now to collecting this information.
This likely means sending out a company wide survey for all of your employees to complete. Go ahead and collect the data you need now, but be certain that all the forms used to ask about such sensitive topics meets the requirements set by the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). There are strict rules about what you absolutely cannot put into your form, but you’ll find the sample forms they provide rather helpful for this process.
Also be certain to let your employees know that providing this information is voluntary and that you aren’t using it for any decisions related to employment. All collected information should also be sent straight to HR and not to the employee’s manager or supervisor.
However, if the snapshot period is coming to a close and you still haven’t gotten the responses you need, you should be sifting through your employment records and checking for missing data in there. If nothing is on file for the answers you need, you can make a best guess estimate by observing your employees. This might fill tricky, but even the EEOC will prefer you to make a guess than not given them any information at all.
They state on their site that any employee who declines their right to self-identity gives their employers a right to use their employment records or the method of “observer identification”. But, you can’t just guess right off the bat. First, your employees must decline the opportunity to self-identify.
#2 Pick A Time
The EEOC will require you to base your reports on a single payroll period between October 1 and December 31. If you want to make things easier for yourself, simply figure out which period you have the fewest employees in and choose that as your reporting window. This usually means using an earlier snapshot closer to the start of October in the event that you typically hire on extra help for the holidays.
Since fewer employees will equate to less data, that means less work on your part. However, if your numbers happen to look better when you are busy for the holiday season, you might still wish to use that window instead.
#3 Get Pay Data
Although the need to report pay has been halted so far, you’ll still want to go ahead and compile this information anyway. Pay reporting requirements are highly likely going to make a comeback in some form. If it turns out that some data isn’t accessible to you now, it’s better to already know this so that you can go ahead and make a thorough reporting and pay data collection process for your company this year. That way, when you do need the data, you’ll have it on hand without any gaps.
Consider it a test-run of your current data collection methods to see if your business is behind or ahead of the curve. Having this information will also enable you to an internal audit of your payroll. This will allow you to prevent potential claims about pay discrimination by making the needed adjustments now. This might range from noticing a pay gap in your salesforce to noticing employees who are long overdue for a raise and/or promotion.
But, you still need to be very cautious with this data. If you do not collect and use it correctly, you can be sued. This is why it’s a good idea to get the proper teams involved at your company (and outside, as needed) to ensure everything is done by the books.
#4 Use Technology
We’re in the 21st-century, and let’s face it: the EEO-1 isn’t that complicated. What it is, however, is very data heavy. This data collection and storage can be very overwhelming for some companies, and using paper reporting methods will lead to the risk of human error. That’s why using online surveys and other implementations of technology can help improve your reporting measures and avoid mistakes.
It will prove worthwhile to bring your data collection and storage process online and into the cloud if you haven’t already.