On April 15, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted in support of H.R. 7, 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. Rep. Kilmer has co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act in every Congress since he was elected.
“In this country, people deserve equal pay for equal work,” said Rep. Kilmer. “Today’s passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act is an important step towards eliminating the wage gap between men and women. This bill will help strengthen the 1963 Equal Pay Act to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. Today, working women still earn just 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns. And that wage gap is even larger for women of color. I want my children – and all kids – to grow up knowing that their work is valued just the same as anyone else’s work. I am proud to vote in favor of it.”
58 years after the enactment of the Equal Pay Act, full-time working women still earn just 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, amounting to a yearly gap of $10,157 between full-time working men and women. The National Partnership for Women and Families has calculated what $10,157 could mean for a median family in America: $10,157 could pay for more than 9 additional months of rent or 13 additional months of child care.
The Paycheck Fairness Act aims to modernize and strengthen the Equal Pay Act and bring the country one step closer to ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work.
Among its key provisions, the Paycheck Fairness Act:
- Provides assistance to all businesses to help them with their equal pay practices, recognizes excellence in pay practices by businesses, and empowers women and girls by creating a negotiation skills training program.
- Prohibits employers from seeking salary history in determining future pay, so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job.
- Requires employers to prove that any pay disparities between employees with the same job are not sex-based by documenting legitimate, job-related performance metrics that justify the disparity.
- Bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages.
- Ensures women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to discrimination based on race and national origin.
- Removes obstacles in the Equal Pay Act to facilitate a wronged worker’s participation in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination.
- Makes improvements in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) and the Department of Labor’s tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act.
Analyses show the impact of the wage gap grows throughout a woman’s career. According to the National Women’s Law Center, based on today’s wage gap, a woman who worked full-time, year-round would typically lose $406,280 over a 40-year career. This woman would have to work almost nine years longer than her male counterpart to make up this lifetime wage gap.
The wage gap is also even larger for women of color:
- Hispanic women on average earn only 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
- Native American women on average earn only 60 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
- African American women on average earn only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
This bill is supported by a coalition of more than 200 organizations, including National Women’s Law Center, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Organization for Women, National Committee on Pay Equity, MomsRising, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP, League of Women Voters, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, SEIU, United Steelworkers, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, American Psychological Association, Anti-Defamation League, and many more.