Paycheck Fairness Act

On Equal Pay Day 2023—March 14th—we look at the current state of the gender pay gap: Women working full-time, year-round are paid 84 cents, and all earners (including part-time and seasonal) are paid 77 cents on average for every dollar paid to men.–AAUW

March 14 was Equal Pay Day, which marks the month and one half that women have to work to catch up with men. The gender pay gap has barely changed in decades. During the past three years, due to the pandemic, women, especially women of color and mothers, were pushed into part-time or seasonal work or out of the workforce. We can’t have an economy that works for everyone without ensuring that all women can work with equality, safety, and dignity—starting with pay equity. 

On March 4, 2021, H.R.7 – Paycheck Fairness Act – passed the House. It had 225 cosponsors, all but three Democrats. It passed the House 216 to 210, with one Republican (Fitzpatrick, R-PA) voting in favor. A vote in the Senate to advance the bill failed 49 to 50, and so it died there.

Here is the CRS summary:

This bill addresses wage discrimination on the basis of sex, which is defined to include pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.

Specifically, it limits an employer’s defense that a pay differential is based on a factor other than sex to only bona fide job-related factors in wage discrimination claims, enhances nonretaliation prohibitions, and makes it unlawful to require an employee to sign a contract or waiver prohibiting the employee from disclosing information about the employee’s wages. The bill also increases civil penalties for violations of equal pay provisions.

Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs must train EEOC employees and other affected parties on wage discrimination.

The bill directs the Department of Labor to (1) establish and carry out a grant program to provide training in negotiation skills related to compensation and equitable working conditions, (2) conduct studies to eliminate pay disparities between men and women, and (3) make available information on wage discrimination to assist the public in understanding and addressing such discrimination.

The bill establishes the National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace for an employer who has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. It also establishes the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force to address compliance, public education, and enforcement of equal pay laws.

Finally, the bill requires the EEOC to issue regulations for collecting from employers compensation and other employment data according to the sex, race, and national origin of employees for use in enforcing laws prohibiting pay discrimination.

H.R. 17 – Paycheck Fairness Act, possibly an identical bill, has been introduced in the House this year. It has 217 cosponsors, all but one Democrats. The CRS summary and text aren’t yet available. Its chance of being considered is slim.


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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