As we previously reported , EEOC has filed notice asking for renewed approval to collect EEO-1 Component 1 race, gender and ethnicity workforce data for the next three years (2019, 2020 & 2021), but is not seeking renewed authority to collect Component 2 pay data and hours worked. To be clear, this filing does not impact the current obligation employers have to submit 2017 and 2018 pay data by September 30, 2019.

EEOC’s authorization to collect any EEO-1 data (Component 1 or Component 2) expires on September 30, 2019. Thus, the Agency has submitted the current information request because it needs approval to continue to collect Component 1 data. Confusingly, Judge Chutkan ordered in National Women’s Law Center, et al. v. Office of Management and Budget, et al., that EEOC’s authority to collect Component 2 pay data will expire no later than April 5, 2021. This Order, however, is currently at the center of a legal appeal. But for the court’s order, or in the event the court’s order is overturned on appeal, EEOC’s authority to collect Component 2 data will likewise expire on September 30, 2019.

As a result of the two expiration dates, and the pending litigation, EEOC is asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to separate approval of Component 1 data collection from Component 2 collection so it can continue to collect Component 1 data while it takes time to assess the utility and burden associated with the Component 2 collection.

According to its notice, EEOC has serious doubts about the previously reported burden on employers to collect and file Component 2 data. It seems EEOC has discovered the previous burden estimate was

an extremely low estimate of the burden on employers. . . EEOC now concludes the burden estimate associated with the EEO-1 is higher than it has previously estimated.

Because it is concerned the actual burden may outweigh the value of the data, the Agency has elected to pause so it can “balance the utility of the data to its enforcement programs against the burden the data collection as structured imposes on the employers who must submit it.”

Therefore,

[t]he Commission now concludes that it should consider information from the ongoing Component 2 data collection before deciding whether to submit a pay data collection to OMB. At this point in time, the unproven utility to its enforcement program of the pay data as defined in the 2016 Component 2 is far outweighed by the burden imposed on employers that must comply with the reporting obligation. Therefore, the EEOC is not seeking to renew Component 2 of the EEO-1.

This admission does not, however, mean EEOC has necessarily made any decision regarding whether it will collect some form of Component 2 data going forward. However, it appears EEOC will not seek approval to collect any additional Component 2 pay data in the near future, either pursuant to its existing authority or pursuant to approval following a new request for OMB approval. Rather, EEOC’s notice suggests it will take a step back, analyze the 2017 and 2018 to determine if and how it might efficiently collect valuable employer pay data without unduly burdening employers, and then move forward from there. How long it may take EEOC to sort this all out is, at this point, anyone’s guess.

Please check back for updates as the saga of EEO-1 Component 2 reporting continues at EEOC, OMB and the courts.