The deadline for employers to file their first annual pay data report with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) – March 31 — is fast approaching. For employers scrambling to comply, a reprieve is available. The DFEH is offering employers a one-month extension of the deadline, though employers need to submit their request for an extension as soon as possible before March 31.

California employers with 100 or more employees nationally are required to file the detailed report setting out demographic, pay and position information on their employees. For employers who cannot meet the March 31 deadline, the DFEH is accepting requests for a 30-day extension or “enforcement deferral period.” Where the DFEH approves the request, the employer’s deadline to submit its pay data report will be extended from March 31 to April 30, 2021. The DFEH will not consider requests for longer extensions at this time.

Requests for deferrals must be submitted electronically through the DFEH portal found here. The DFEH has made clear that employers must submit their deferral requests before March 31. The DFEH will not consider requests made in any other manner, such as by letter, email or phone.

The DFEH will consider deferral requests made on the grounds that the employer (1) lost personnel records due to a natural disaster; (2) is suffering severe economic hardship that is impairing its ability to file on time; or, (3) must make technology or infrastructure changes before it can file its pay data report.

According to my contact with DFEH executive leadership, properly completed deferral requests that are submitted on time will be readily granted by the DFEH.

Obviously, however, submitting deferral requests as early as possible makes sense. Employers need to know ASAP whether they must file the extensive reports by March 31 or they have until April 30.

Where an employer fails to file by the deadline applicable to that employer, the DFEH is authorized to file suit for an order that the employer comply and an award against the employer of the Department’s costs.

Pay data reports must be submitted by uploading an Excel file, uploading a CSV file or completing a fillable web form, all through the DFEH portal found here.

A thorough discussion of the pay data-reporting requirement may be found in my earlier blog post here.