WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, March 27, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) voted to pass H.R. 7, the landmark Paycheck Fairness Act, to take a dramatic step forward to ensure that America’s women receive equal pay for equal work. This legislation strengthens and closes loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act to secure justice for working women in New Jersey and across the country by providing effective remedies for women subject to unfair and inequitable pay practices.
“It is a shame that in the year 2019, we needed to pass a law to demand that women be paid the same as men. I proudly voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act ten years after a Democratic-led Congress enacted the historic Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and one week before Equal Pay Day,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10). “Equal Pay Day symbolizes when, three months into the year, women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. For hard-working New Jersey women who earn only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man, this unacceptable wage gap leaves countless women struggling to meet the everyday needs of their families, such as groceries, rent, child care, and doctors’ visits.”
Today’s wage gap robs women who work full-time, year-round of over $400,000 over the course of their working lives. The wage gap is even larger for women of color with African American women on average earning only 61 cents, Latinas on average earning only 53 cents and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women earning only 62 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
To close the wage gap and address loopholes and weak enforcement mechanisms in existing law, the Paycheck Fairness Act updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Among its many key provisions, the Paycheck Fairness Act:
· Requires employers to prove and justify that pay disparities are legitimate and are not sex-based;
· 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 ethnicity;
· 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; and
· Prohibits employers from relying on salary history in determining future pay, so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job.
“Women have been breadwinners and caretakers for families in New Jersey throughout history,” continued Rep. Payne, Jr. “Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act is a critical step in unleashing the full power of women in our economy and upholding the value of fairness in our democracy. Democrats will continue to advance progress For The People to build a brighter and more equal future for all Americans.”