The Senate is expected to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act today, marking the second time this year that the Senate will take up the legislation.
The Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA), introduced by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), was blocked by Senate Republicans who filibustered the bill in April – just one day after “Equal Pay Day.” The PFA would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by prohibiting retaliation against employees who share information about their pay, requiring employers to demonstrate that any pay differences between men and women are legitimate, providing plaintiffs better legal tools to protect their rights, and requiring employers to provide the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with pay data by sex, race and national origin of employees.
While Senate Republicans were blocking a vote on equal pay legislation, President Obama in April signed two executive actions intended to help close the wage gap. One, an executive order, prohibited pay secrecy by preventing federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share pay information, and another directed the Department of Labor to establish new regulations requiring contractors to report summary data on compensation paid to employees by race and sex.
Women are the sole or primary breadwinners in 40 percent of families with children under 18, but they still earn only 77 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. Women of color are especially disadvantaged by the wage gap: Black women make just 64 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, and Latinas earn only 54 cents. Over the course of their career, the pay gap costs women about $434,000.
Take Action! Urge your Senator to support the Paycheck Fairness Act TODAY. (You can also call your Senator at 202-224-3121.)
Media Resources: The Hill 9/10/14; Feminist Newswire 4/9/14, 4/8/14