WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) helped introduce the Paycheck Fairness Act – a commonsense bill to tackle the lingering challenges related to gender pay inequity. Across the country, the wage gap hurts the financial security of both women and their families – with women making an average of 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, it jeopardizes their ability to provide for their families and save for retirement.
“Women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households and, when they earn less than men for the same job, it hurts all of us,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “Congress needs to come together to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act for families across our region. This is about moms having enough resources to put food on the table for their kids and provide for their families – let’s do the right thing and ensure equal pay for equal work.”
40 percent of families across the country are supported primarily by women’s incomes. Minority women face additional hardships with pay inequity compared to men – African American women are paid 61 cents, Latina Women are paid 53 cents, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women are paid 62 cents. To stand up for women, workers and families, the Paycheck Fairness Act would take the following steps to close the wage gap:
- Require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons – ensuring that disparities are not sex-based, but job-related and necessary.
- Ban retaliation against workers who discuss their wages.
- Remove obstacles in the Equal Pay Act to facilitate a wronged worker’s participation in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination.
- Improve DOL’s tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act. To help the Department of Labor better uncover wage discrimination, it will speed up the collection of wage data from federal contractors, direct the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to conduct a survey of available wage information and create a system of wage data collection, and instruct DOL to conduct studies and review available research and data to provide information on how to identify, correct, and eliminate illegal wage disparities.
- Assist businesses with their equal pay practices, recognize excellence in pay practices by businesses and empower women and girls by creating a negotiation skills training program.
- Prohibit employers from seeking the salary history of prospective employees.