Under the regulations, companies are responsible for multiple disclosures: The median total compensation of all employees; the total compensation of the respective CEO or equivalent; and the ratio between the two.
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Ostensibly, the rule is meant to give shareholders a glimpse into the way companies pay executives. The SEC pledged that it has "sought to tailor the final rule to meet that purpose while avoiding unnecessary costs."
More practically, though, the move is also a political strike against Wall Street as part of post-financial crisis outrage. Multiple instances of CEOs raking in huge salaries as their companies teetered enraged populists like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and sparked a litany of punitive backlash measures.
A few years ago, NerdWallet found that CEO salaries typically were 550 times worker salaries and retirement plans were 239 times more generous. The pay-gap measure, then, is seen as a way to apply political pressure to companies to keep things more in line.
Read More9 CEOs paid 800 times more than their workers
The provision has plenty of doubters, however, and it passed a sharply divided SEC by a 3-2 party line vote.
Still, once companies have to start reporting the huge discrepancies between CEO pay and workers, there are sure to be fireworks, as indicated by the poll results.
The 10 highest-paid CEOs of S&P 500 companies: