National Partnership for Women & Families

Equal Pay Day Should be a ‘Wake-Up Call’ for Congress to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, Women’s Leader Says

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 4, 2017 —

“It is encouraging that champions for women and working families in Congress are reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act on Equal Pay Day today – the day that marks how far into 2017 women employed full time, year-round in the United States have had to work in order to catch up with what men were paid in 2016. The day is always a painful reminder that the gender wage gap persists in all corners of the country, and that it has damaging consequences that ripple throughout our workplaces, families, communities and the economy.

That America’s women have to work more than three additional months to reach pay parity with men should be a wake-up call for members of Congress to pass measures that would help, such as the Paycheck Fairness Act. Overall, women are paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. Compared to white, non-Hispanic men, Black women are paid 63 cents, Latinas 54 cents, Asian women 85 cents and white women 75 cents for every dollar. These disparities result in staggering losses of income that could go toward food, housing, child care, college tuition, birth control and more.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would combat the pay discrimination that contributes to the wage gap. Specifically, it would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers for discussing their wages and limit the use of applicants’ salary history in the hiring process. It would also recognize employers with good pay practices, provide assistance to small businesses that need help adopting strong policies, create a negotiation skills training program, and enhance federal agencies’ ability to investigate and enforce pay discrimination laws.

We commend Sen. Murray (D - Wash.) and Rep. DeLauro (D - Conn.) for championing this reasonable and common sense measure, as well as the members of Congress who have already shown their support. At a time when women’s wages are essential for their families and our economy, we need a set of public policies that ensure they have access to good and decent-paying jobs, the support they need to stay and advance in their careers, and fair and nondiscriminatory treatment. That is why the Paycheck Fairness Act and other fair and family friendly workplace policies should be top priorities.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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