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STATEMENT: Congress Reintroduces the Paycheck Fairness Act; the Time to Pass it is Now

STATEMENT: Congress Reintroduces the Paycheck Fairness Act; the Time to Pass it is Now

March 25, 2015 

Contact: Linda Meric, National Executive Director
(303) 628-0925 x15 or lindam@9to5.org

“Today, U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation which would help close the wage gap between women and men working the same jobs. Now is Congress’ chance to do the right thing by passing the bill. In the past, Congress has failed to outlaw unfair and unequal pay practices – like the ones that impacted Leisa Patin in Pearland, Texas, who was hired at $12,000 less than a male counterpart.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in our existing equal pay laws, prohibit retaliation against workers who ask about or share wage information, and empower women to better negotiate salary and benefit increases.

The most recent Census Bureau statistics show that the long-standing gap between women’s and men’s earnings has changed little. Overall, women workers in full-time, year-round jobs still earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men in those jobs. There is an even greater gap for African American women and Latinas.

The PFA would help spur our nation’s economic recovery. Every cent counts at a time when more women are primary family breadwinners or co-breadwinners than ever before. Leisa discovered the pay discrepancy through talking with her coworker, and was able to negotiate a higher wage with her human resources department through a promotion. Countless other women are not so fortunate and are even retaliated against when they ask about their pay. That’s why the PFA is so important to closing the pay gap. If your employer prohibits you from having conversations about your salary, it’s difficult to find out if you’re being paid less than your male co-workers and  take action to correct it.

The wage gap has long-term effects on the economic security of women and families. Women lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over their careers. That means less money to make ends meet and achieve economic security for families. Unfair pay practices hurt family budgets, especially for those who rely solely on female earnings.

Now is the time for Congress to take the steps necessary to effectively address wage discrimination and eliminate loopholes that have undermined the Equal Pay Act’s effectiveness. 9to5 will continue to engage our members, to speak out and take action for this important legislation.”