The Paycheck Fairness Act may come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate today. This is a critical piece of legislation that addresses several shortfalls in current laws against unequal pay for women. We know from personal experience that these shoftfalls need to be addressed before we can hope to achieve the decades-old goal of equal pay.
Terrel McSweeny writes at whitehouse.gov:
Wage discrimination is real.
Just ask Lilly Ledbetter. She is a mother. She didn’t seek a “less stressful work environment” than her male counter parts. And she was paid roughly 30% less. If she had been allowed to share information about her pay with her colleagues she would have realized she was being paid less than men with less experience.
But Lilly couldn’t bring that case. She could have lost her job if she discussed her pay with her colleagues. The Paycheck Fairness Act would provide that protection. The author [of a Wall Street Journal op-ed] is right there are a lot of laws aimed at this problem – but because they don’t provide basic tools like pay transparency, discrimination persists.
Also see Carol Rose at boston.com:
Lawmakers meant for The Equal Pay Act of 1963 to ensure equal pay for equal work, but over time, because of weak remedies and loopholes in the law, significant disparities in pay persist.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would give employees the legal tools they need to finally close the wage gap by, for example, requiring employers to demonstrate that wage differences between men and women doing the same work have a business justification; prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about their wages; and leveling the playing field by ensuring that women can obtain the same remedies as those subject to employment discrimination based on their race or national origin. The bill would also provide technical assistance to employers and provide important safeguards for small businesses.
The Paycheck Fairness Act already passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support and now has 40 co-sponsors in the Senate—more than it has ever had in any previous Congress. Recently, a report from the White House National Economic Council underscored the need for the Paycheck Fairness Act as an important step towards the economic security of women and our nation’s families.
If we want the tools to eliminate pay discrimination against women, it is time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.