Should Congress amend the Equal Pay Act to help eliminate the gender pay gap?
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• “Discrimination of all kinds is wrong. I think a woman ought to get paid as much as men for the same work — that’s just common sense and it’s the law. But I’ve looked at this from all sides — I’ve talked to Mainers, to business leaders, to men and women, and this particular bill, in my view, fails to address the real causes that are driving the wage gap. In addition, the bill could impose substantial burdens on businesses in justifying pay differentials.” - Senator Angus King (Independent, Maine)
• “Requiring employers to justify any decision not to pay workers equal wages for doing substantially equal work is reasonable in light of the Equal Pay Act’s goal to uncover discrimination and the unspecific nature of the “factor other than sex” defense. Moreover, the Paycheck Fairness Act does not alter the safeguards embedded in the Equal Pay Act that ensure that employers have appropriate discretion in setting compensation in nondiscriminatory ways.” - National Women’s Law Center
This bill was first introduced to the House in 1997 and has been reintroduced in every congressional session since then, having failed in every session to pass in both houses of Congress. It seeks to redress perceived failings in the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963, itself an amendment to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. The EPA barred employers from paying men and women unequal pay for equal work. The bill argues that despite this law, a pay gap between men and women exists -- that women continue to earn less than men for equal work. To address this pay gap, the bill would amend loopholes in the EPA, revising or adding provisions to strengthen its prohibition against unequal pay for equal work. For example, one provision would amend the EPA to require the Secretary of Labor to research ways of erasing the pay gap and disseminate this information to the public. Other provisions would expand the opportunities for women and others to sue employers for gender discrimination and regulate the justifications employers may provide to justify any pay gaps among their employees. Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Democrat, Connecticut, District 3)
- DeLauro, Murray Reintroduce Paycheck Fairness Act (Press Release)
- Democratic Congresswomen Put Forth 'Long Overdue' Legislation Demanding Fair Pay for Women (Fortune)
- How Democrats plan to shrink the gender pay gap (Vox)
- GOP Senate blocks paycheck bill, says better ways to achieve fairness, 2012 (Fox News)
- Marco Rubio Among Senate Republicans Voting Against Bill To Close Pay Gap 2014 (Fox News)