American women today make, on average, 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. This disparity is even worse for women of color: African American women make 64 cents for every dollar earned by their white, male counterparts, and for Hispanic women, it's 54 cents. The Paycheck Fairness Act would deter pay discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. This bill would strengthen the Equal Pay Act to ensure that it provides effective protection against sex-based pay discrimination, allowing women to receive the same remedies in court for pay discrimination as those subjected to discrimination based on race or national origin. Such steps are necessary and timely in light of the current economic recession, which has made almost 40% of women the primary breadwinners in their household. It is simply unjust that women continue to earn less for the same, hard work.
In 2009, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores the rights of employees who have suffered pay discrimination by clarifying the current statute to allow employers to be sued every time they issue a discriminatory paycheck, regardless of how much time has lapsed since the discrimination first occurred. This legislation is a critical first step to ensure fair pay for women in the workplace.
On April 8, 2014--Equal Pay Day--President Obama signed an executive order banning retaliation against workers under federal contract who ask about or disclose wages. As one out of five Americans is a federal contractor, this executive action is another important stride towards closing the pay gap, but the fight for pay equity is a long way from finished.
In emails, faxes and phone calls, please contact your Senators and Representative and urge them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121 or you can also send an e-mail by entering your Zip Code. For more information, please contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Rachel Chung at 202.387.2800