Equal Pay Day marks the amount of time women have to work to catch up to what men earned in 2016, and Sen. Patty Murray D-Wash., and Representative Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., commemorated the event by reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was praised by Lisa McCormick, a New Jersey Democrat who has been speaking out about inequality.
The Paycheck Fairness Act is legislation aimed at reinforcing the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by guaranteeing that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold their employers accountable and it is gathering local support in New Jersey.
Despite making up half the workforce, more than five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, American women still make only 80 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by a man, said McCormick.
The gap is even wider for women of color, with African-American women making 63 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic women making only 54 cents, on average, compared with white men, said McCormick.
“The Paycheck Fairness Act would 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,” said McCormick.
“Women should be treated equally and fairly in the workplace,” McCormick said. “That includes equal pay, and the ability to hold their employers accountable for not paying a fair wage. When women succeed within the workplace, everyone benefits, and I am proud to join my colleagues today in calling for equal pay for women all across the country.”
Equal pay for equal work is an issue of fundamental fairness,” McCormick said. ““It’s outrageous that a giant pay gap still exists so we must do more to make equal pay a reality, starting with the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.”
The bill “punishes employers for retaliating against workers who share wage information, puts the justification burden on employers as to why someone is paid less and allows workers to sue for punitive damages of wage discrimination.”
Another provision of the bill would start programs to train women in ways to better negotiate their wages.
“The Equal Pay Act of 1963 makes it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work, but it creates an onerous legal burden on victims of wage discrimination, so this update is justified,” said McCormick.