EEO-1 Reports Are Due September 30, Changes Coming Next Year

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

UPDATE: On September 29, 2016, the Office of Management and Budget approved the EEOC's proposal to revise the EEO-1 Report. The EEOC has published the new EEO-1 form along with questions and answers regarding the summary pay data.

August 5, 2016

The September 30, 2016, due date for employers to file their annual EEO-1 reports with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is fast approaching. Although it is business as usual this year, changes in the information required to be reported and the due date of the report are likely starting with 2017 reports.

Current Reporting Requirements

Private employers with 100 or more employees, and federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a contract/subcontract of $50,000 or more, are currently required to report on the EEO-1 the number of workers they employ by job category, race, ethnicity and gender each year by September 30. There are seven race and ethnicity categories and 10 job categories based on gender.

Employers complete the report using data from any pay period that occurred between July and September of the current reporting year. They are also required to report their location and business purpose.

The purpose of this information gathering is to help researchers, attorneys, HR professionals and others develop affirmative action plans. The information reported by employers may also be used by the EEOC as a basis for an employment discrimination enforcement action or an audit, however.

Proposed Reporting Changes

The EEOC, in partnership with the Department of Labor (DOL), has proposed to expand on the type of information collected using an updated EEO-1 Report. Additional summary pay data, by gender, race and ethnicity, would be required.

The pay data would be categorized in 12 pay bands and would consist of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, earnings information for a 12-month period, as well as the hours worked by employees. Form W-2 earnings information includes amounts paid by an employer to an employee during a tax year in wages, salaries, fees, commissions, tips, taxable fringe benefits and elective deferrals.

The comment period for the proposed changes was originally set to end on April 1, 2016. But based on comments received about the additional burden employers would endure from having to report the additional pay data, the EEOC issued a revised proposal on which it will accept comments through August 15, 2016.

Under the revised proposal, the reporting deadline would be changed to March 31 of the year following the EEO-1 report year. The first report that would have to conform to the new requirements - the 2017 report - would be due on March 31, 2018. This would give employers six extra months to reprogram their data collection systems to pick up the additional pay data needed from the W-2s for the 2017 report.

Effect on Payroll Operations

In April, the American Payroll Association (APA) submitted comments to the EEOC on its proposed revisions to the EEO-1, warning that the additional reporting requirement would be more complicated than expected. Specifically, the APA cited complex decentralized processes, data security concerns and compensation not fully captured by the W-2 as hurdles to submitting and analyzing reliable pay data.

Despite that employers would have to include additional pay data on the EEO-1, the March 31 deadline of the revised proposal would allow employers to gather that data in time. That is because the Protecting Americans From Tax Hike (PATH) Act of 2015 accelerated the filing deadline for Forms W-2, Copy A (for both paper and electronically filed forms) with the Social Security Administration to January 31, beginning with the 2016 W-2s that will be filed in 2017. Before the PATH Act, paper Forms W-2 had to be filed by the last business day of February, and electronic W-2s were due by March 31.

Filing In 2016

Filers should note that, starting with the September 30, 2016 report, there are new enhancements for uploading of EEO-1 data files. "Companies will now be able to test and upload their data files without needing to email data files or wait for confirmation. This new method of submitting data files will save time and provide companies with immediate notification of any errors requiring corrections. This should go a long way toward helping employers to meet the Sept. 30 deadline," according to Deidre M. Flippen, director of the EEOC's office of research, information and planning.

The EEO-1 survey website contains helpful reference documents for filers, such as a sample form, instructions, FAQ's, a fact sheet and the EEO-1 Job Classification Guide.