Equal Pay for Equal Work
Support the Paycheck Fairness Act
Urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7, S. 205) which would strengthen the 1963 Equal Pay Act and take additional steps to end gender-based wage disparities. Fifty-eight years after enactment of the Equal Pay Act, and over a decade after signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the promise of equal pay for equal work remains unfulfilled. Furthermore, the wage gap is even larger for women of color. On average, Black women earn just 63 cents, Native American women just 60 cents, and Latinas just 55 cents for every dollar a white man earns.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many women to leave the workforce to care for family during stay-at-home orders, or they have been the most at-risk of sickness because of employment as essential workers, often underpaid and undervalued. Women made up one-half of the workforce in 2020, yet 70 percent of America’s poor are women and children.
Equal pay is not simply a woman’s issue, it is a family issue and an anti-poverty issue. Women also have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic causing many women to lose their jobs or leave the workforce to stay home with children unable to attend in-person school.
As the economy slowly recovers from the pandemic, now is the time to make sure that women can return to the workforce or enter the workforce without discrimination.
The bill bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages, provides effective remedies for women who are not given equal pay for equal work, and requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons. The bill makes it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s wage history in the hiring process, and allows employees to automatically participate in class action lawsuits against systemic pay discrimination, unless they opt-out. The bill also creates a negotiation and skills training program, and improves the Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act.