Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Paycheck Fairness Act Would Give Working Families and Our Economy a Needed Boost
Press Statement

STATEMENT: Paycheck Fairness Act Would Give Working Families and Our Economy a Needed Boost

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make major strides to strengthen equal pay protections by toughening restrictions against retaliation and pay secrecy; requiring the regular collection of pay data to promote robust enforcement of equal pay laws; and tightening loopholes used by employers to justify gender pay differences.

The reintroduction comes 10 years after President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which clarified that the time clock for filing a pay discrimination claim starts running from the date of the most recent discriminatory paycheck, not the original date of discrimination. Jocelyn Frye, senior fellow at CAP’s Women’s Initiative, released the following statement in response to the bill’s reintroduction:

The Paycheck Fairness Act represents a critical step forward in the fight for equal pay, and its passage is long overdue. Ensuring women are paid fairly for their work is essential to upholding our national commitment to equality and is inextricably linked with working families’ economic security. Nearly two-thirds of women serve as their family’s sole, primary, or co-breadwinner, which is why the strength of America’s economy rests on women. Yet, women continue to face persistent pay disparities in the workplace. The Paycheck Fairness Act would tackle this problem head on by improving worker protections to limit pay secrecy, promoting employer accountability, and strengthening the investigatory tools that enforcement agencies can use to uncover pay disparities.

The bill stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s record of rolling back equal pay protections, including the government’s ability to collect more pay data and identify where gaps may exist.

The failure to effectively combat pay discrimination puts women and the families they support at an economic disadvantage, and what may seem like pennies an hour translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime—and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy as a whole.  Women of color, who experience the sharpest pay disparities, are particularly hard-hit.

Year after year, women consistently identify equal pay as a top priority. But, although many lawmakers are quick to profess support for equal pay when they are looking for votes, Congress has failed to back up these words with concrete action. Women were the driving force behind bringing change to Washington this year, and they are expecting Congress to deliver. Those who say that they support equal pay must do more than talk. The Paycheck Fairness Act is a commonsense bill with commonsense strategies to combat pay discrimination. It is a bill that deserves everyone’s support.

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For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at [email protected] or 202-741-6292.