Washington, D.C. — Today, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva voted in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act (HR 1338) in the Committee on Education and Labor. The bill would help end the discriminatory practice of paying men and women unequally for performing the same job.
The Paycheck Fairness Act will strengthen the Equal Pay Act, close the loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility of discriminatory pay, strengthen the penalties for violations, and lays out programs for the EEOC and the Department of Labor for the gathering of pay data and promotion of equal pay.
“It is ridiculous to imagine that in the 21 st Century, women are still dealing with this issue,” said Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, a member of the Committee. “Payment based on gender should not be tolerated. That’s why we must pass this bill and ensure that every American receives equal pay for equal work
The Paycheck Fairness Act restores the right to fair pay that has been undermined by recent actions by the courts. This bill will reinvigorate the Equal Pay Act, by closing the loopholes created over the years that defy the original intent of the law and basic notions of justice and fairness.
“Pay discrimination has a real, significant impact on pocketbooks, retirement, and the economy. Gender-based wage theft could cost a woman from $400,000 to $2 million over her career,” noted Rep. Grijalva. “All American workers and families should breathe a little easier knowing that their right to equal pay for equal work has been revitalized.”
Pay equity is not just a women’s issue, it is a family issue. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the wage gap continues to persist even though women posted a greater net increase in jobs paying above the median salary than men from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, the median weekly pay for men was $663 compared to 73 percent of that for women, who earned $486 a week on average.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would:
· Create a training program to help women and girls strengthen their negotiation skills.
· Enforce equal pay laws for federal contractors and require the Department of Labor to work with employers to eliminate pay disparities by enhancing outreach and training efforts.
· Require the Department of Labor to continue to collect and disseminate wage information based on gender.
· Prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers and;
· Allow women to sue for punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages now available under the Equal Pay Act.
“The young women of today should not have to deal with this tomorrow,” said Grijalva. “This type of discrimination must become a thing of the past. We owe it our daughters, sisters and mothers to close the wage gap and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act for the millions of hard working women and their families.”