In 1963, the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits employers from paying women less than men for the same work, became law. A lot has changed in the workplace since then. But the Equal Pay Act is still pretty much the same as it was 47 years ago. That is a big part of the reason women working full time are still only paid 77 cents to a man's dollar—and women of color are paid even less. Because the Equal Pay Act hasn't kept up with new civil rights laws or been updated to reflect new workplace realities or reverse harmful court rulings, the Act is hardly ever enforced. That means employers can easily get away with paying different wages to women and men who are doing the same job. In fact, the law is so weak that employers often find it cheaper to discriminate than to pay fair wages.
Americans are fed up with this status quo. Last month, in a nationwide poll of registered voters, 84% said they supported "a new law that would provide women more tools to get fair pay in the workplace." Participants were told that the "law will also make it harder for employers to justify paying different wages for the same work and ensure that businesses that break the law compensate women fairly." 72% of respondents said they strongly supported such a law. For more information on the polling results, click here:
That new law is the Paycheck Fairness Act, and we need it because it would make it harder for employers to hide pay discrimination, help train women and girls about salary negotiation, support government collection of critical wage data, and reward employers that have good pay practices. Particularly in these tough economic times, Congress needs to help working families by passing laws that help women get the equal pay they earn.
The House already passed the Paycheck Fairness Act with bipartisan support. It has 40 co-sponsors in the Senate. Let your Senator know it is time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act now!