Last week, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) joined Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), and their Democratic colleagues to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act.
The legislation is designed to strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable. The legislation was cosponsored by 45 Senators and every Democratic member of the House of Representatives. The introduction of the bill comes 10 years after President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, which the legislators said marked an important step forward in the fight to end the gender wage gap.
“Over 50 years ago, the Equal Pay Act took important first steps to address the gender wage gap; 10 years ago, President Obama signed the landmark Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, which was another strong step forward that I was proud to support in the fight to ensure equal pay for equal work,” said Carper.
“However, we know that there is more work to do to address the inequality that still exists and has significant repercussions for working women and their families. That’s why I’m proud to join my Democratic colleagues in the House and the Senate, including Sen. Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act in order to make sure that discriminatory practices in the workplace are addressed and that men and women performing the same work are finally paid the same wage.”
“The promise of equal opportunity for those who wish to strive to their fullest economic potential is a cornerstone of this nation,” Coons said. “More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, we still have work to do to close the wage gap between women and men, and in particular to ensure that women of color receive equal pay. I’m proud to join Sen. Carper, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester, and Democrats in the House and Senate in supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help hold employers accountable for pay discrimination.”
“As a working mom trying to give her kids every opportunity to succeed, I, like many, found myself struggling to pay my bills and make ends meet. The reality is that as an African-American woman, I was at greater risk for wage discrimination than many of my colleagues,” said Blunt Rochester.
“The consequences of wage discrimination negatively affect women in all fields — impacting take-home pay and lifetime retirement savings. Women are the breadwinners in over 40 percent of U.S. households, and still, millions earn less than their male counterparts for the very same work. Delaware women earn 89 cents on the dollar because of the wage gap, which is even worse for women of color with African American women earning 70 cents and Hispanic women earning 59 cents on the dollar.
“That loss of pay adds up. It makes it more difficult to buy groceries, save for retirement or put a roof over your head. This doesn’t just affect women. It affects our children, partners and the entire economy. Studies show that closing the wage gap would boost the U.S. economy by as much as $500 billion per year.
“The time to act is now. That’s why I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues, in the House and Senate, in reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act to end discriminatory practices, hold bad actors accountable, and ensure that everyone earns equal pay for equal work.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act is designed to strengthen and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by holding employers accountable for discriminatory practices, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees. The House legislation has 240 cosponsors (every Democratic member of the House and one Republican member), and the Senate legislation has 45 cosponsors.