Covered employers now have until Oct. 25 to file their 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 reports, according to a recent announcement from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Although the reporting deadline has been delayed several times during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said it will not authorize any more extensions.
The EEOC cited “the continuing impact of the pandemic on business operations” as the reason for the change. “We encourage eligible employers to file the required EEO-1 Component 1 reports as soon as possible,” the agency said.
Under federal law, businesses with at least 100 employees and federal contractors with at least 50 employees plus a contract of $50,000 or more with the federal government generally must file the EEO-1 form each year.
The form asks for information about the number of employees who work for the business sorted by job category, race, ethnicity and sex. The EEOC uses information about the number of women and minorities companies employ to support civil rights enforcement and analyze employment patterns, according to the agency.
Employers still rushing to finalize and upload their 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 reports by the prior Aug. 23 deadline will certainly welcome this extra breathing room. But even with the extension, employers would be wise to continue finalizing their reports with urgency.
This year, the EEO Joint Reporting Commission must review and approve each company’s 2019 filing before it may file its 2020 data, which also must be approved. This, among other things, has caused delays in certifying filings this year. As the deadline approaches, beware of this added step and be sure to plan ahead.
Limit Calls to Help Desk
The EEOC is asking filers to only contact the EEO-1 help desk once for the same issue and to be patient as the filer support team works through the requests. “We will ensure that all filers will be able to file and that no one will be excluded,” the agency said.
“Filers making multiple contacts for the same issue via phone, e-mail, and online inquiry [or] from different e-mail addresses with the same employer are increasing the number of requests into the help desk, resulting in further delays.”
No Federal Pay-Data Collection
The EEOC has said it does not intend to collect controversial pay data from Component 2 of the EEO-1 form, which was the source of a heated legal dispute in recent years. The agency will collect data for the EEO-1 form’s well-established Component 1, which asks businesses to list their employees by job category, race, ethnicity and sex.
Component 2 of the form requested employees’ hours worked and pay information from W-2 forms, broken down by the same categories. The agency collected this data for 2017 and 2018 but decided not to collect it after that, concluding that the burden imposed on employers to gather the information outweighs the usefulness of the data for the agency.
The current administration, however, may reinstate the mandate.
In the meantime, employers should note that some states have enacted their own pay-data reporting requirements.
The EEO-1 filing is very detailed, and employers need to figure out how to capture the data correctly. Be sure you are giving yourself adequate time so that if you are working with a third-party vendor to receive your data, you have a good opportunity to review it prior to filing.
Employers can file their reports through an online form or a data file upload. The online filing system is new this year and will require minor account setup by employers. We recommend that, even if covered employers are not ready to file, they should set up their account in case they have questions that would require support from the EEOC.
The data provides a snapshot of an employer’s demographic makeup to the federal government and to other parties if the reports are produced during agency reviews or private litigation. Be diligent, but don’t overdo it. Remember that perfection is not required. There are only federal penalties for making “willfully false statements.”