Women’s Leader Praises Labor Department for Removing ‘A Major Barrier to Fair Pay’ for 28 Million Workers

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The final rule issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is the latest in a series of remarkable and historic actions by the Obama administration to make America’s workplaces more fair and family friendly. By prohibiting federal contractors and subcontractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation, the department has eliminated a major barrier to fair pay for 28 million workers in this country.

When workers fear retaliation for talking about pay, discrimination too often goes unchecked and workers and families across the country – especially women and people of color – lose critical income that could go toward basic necessities and retirement savings. Yet pay secrecy policies are all too common; about half of workers say the discussion of pay is discouraged or prohibited by their employers. With this rule, the administration has set an important example. Workers, families, businesses and our economy will be stronger as a result.

We commend the administration for taking concrete steps to address the practices that contribute to unfair and unlawful pay in this country. Nationally, women who work full time, year round are paid, on average, just 78 cents for every dollar paid to men. This harmful gap has remained largely unchanged for the past decade. Coupled with the president’s paid sick days and paid family and medical leave announcement earlier this week, this rule is further evidence that the progress working families urgently need is possible.”

The National Partnership submitted comments in support of the rule the department proposed in September 2014. The comments are available here.

About the National Partnership

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 all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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