FILE - In this April 30, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama answers questions during his new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. State officials say thousands of people with medical problems are in danger of losing coverage as the Obama administration winds down one of the earliest programs in the federal health care overhaul. At risk is the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a transition program that has turned into a lifeline for the so-called �uninsurables� _ people with serious medical conditions who can't get coverage elsewhere. The health care law capped spending on the program, and now money is running out. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is giving the federal personnel director six months to submit a strategy to address gender-based pay disparities in the U.S. workforce.
Two days before Mother's Day, the White House released a presidential memorandum in which Obama says nearly two-thirds of working women are their families' breadwinners. He also characterizes gender-based pay disparities as detrimental to women, families and the economy.
Salary ranges for federal workers are generally determined by law, but individual salaries and other forms of compensation can be based on an administrator's discretion. Obama says such discretion must be exercised openly, using fair criteria and following merit system principles that dictate equal pay for equal work.
The federal government is the nation's largest employer, with about 2 million workers.