Washington, D.C. – Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), incoming Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, led every Democrat in Congress in reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, help eliminate the gender wage gap, and guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable.
Introduced ahead of the twelfth anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, the Paycheck Fairness Act would end the practice of pay secrecy and strengthen the available remedies for wronged employees.
“As workers across the country struggle to make ends meet amid this economic crisis, women cannot afford to wait any longer to get equal pay,” said Senator Murray. “Right now, women are still paid less on average than their male counterparts—and the gap is highest for women of color. I want our economy to be one where every worker gets paid fairly for the work they do and can support themselves and their loved ones. This is not too much to ask and should not be controversial—so I’ll keep pushing to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and other important policies that will support women in the workforce and make sure our economy works for everyone.”
“The concept is simple: men and women in the same job deserve the same pay,” said Chairwoman DeLauro. “Job loss resulting from the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, with women accounting for 100% of jobs lost in December. We must enact the Paycheck Fairness Act to both close the worsening pay gap and protect and empower women as they reenter the job force. This legislation is long overdue, but this is the Congress that it will finally be signed into law.”
“For America’s working women, particularly women of color, decades of economic insecurity and pay inequality have been made even worse by the ongoing coronavirus crisis,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Equal work deserves equal pay, and with the re-introduction of Chair Rosa DeLauro’s Paycheck Fairness Act, Congressional Democrats will once again work in a bipartisan way to secure justice for working women, advance progress for families and strengthen the foundations of our communities and our nation. This legislation is a key step in Democrats’ efforts to unleash the full economic power of women in our country so that we can Build Back Better and ensure a more fair, just and equal future for all.”
“The gender wage gap is not only discriminatory, it undermines the financial stability of families and slows our economic growth. Despite current protections, inadequate remedies and limited enforcement tools have allowed gender-based wage discrimination to persist—leaving women, particularly women of color, without the pay they deserve,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott. “The Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens enforcement of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, helps to lift families out of poverty, and finally aligns the fight against workplace gender discrimination with other federal anti-discrimination laws. This bill is one more step toward finally achieving equal pay for equal work.”
“Twelve years ago, Congress and President Obama achieved an important victory for women seeking to challenge pay discrimination in court with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” said Lilly Ledbetter. “But equal pay is by no means just a women’s issue—it’s a family issue. The Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure they get equal pay for equal work is needed to make the economy work for all families. I applaud Congresswoman DeLauro for her leadership in this fight since 1997, as well as Speaker Pelosi for being a tireless advocate. Now is the time to get Paycheck Fairness passed and signed!”
The Paycheck Fairness Act is bipartisan and again designated as H.R. 7 in the House, making it one of the House of Representatives’ top ten bills, and is included among President Biden’s gender equality priorities. The House legislation is cosponsored by every Democratic Member of the House and two Republican Members, and the Senate legislation is cosponsored by every Democratic member of the Senate.
More than five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women on average still make only 82 cents, for every dollar earned by men. That gap is even wider for women of color. Compared to white men, African American women are paid 63 cents and Latina women are paid 55 cents. For a woman working full time year-round, the current wage gap represents a loss of more than $400,000 over the course of her career. The wage gap impacts women’s ability to save for retirement and reduces their total Social Security and pension benefits, contributing to more older women living in poverty.
Pay inequity not only affects women – it affects children and families and our economy as a whole. That is because women in this country are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of families with children. Over the past two decades, women make a growing share of the family income in all family types.
The full text of this legislation is available here.