The PJ Tatler

Dem Senators Push Bill to Force Equal Pay

A group of Democratic senators will urge the upper chamber to immediately take up and pass legislation that they say will close the wage gap between men and women.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act more than a year ago, which now has 35 Democratic co-sponsors including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

The legislation would require employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women doing the same work have a business justification and are truly a result of factors other than gender. It would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers.

The bill would require the Labor Department to enhance outreach and training efforts to work with employers in order to eliminate pay disparities and to continue to collect and disseminate wage information based on gender.

It would create a competitive grant program to provide salary-negotiation skills training programs for girls and women and would establish the Secretary of Labor’s National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace.

Mikulski will be joined by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.), along with representatives of the American Association of University Women (AAUW),the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), this afternoon to urge passage of the bill.

“While women still make on average 77 cents to every dollar made by a male, the Paycheck Fairness Act builds on the promise of the Equal Pay Act, passed 49 years ago on June 10, 1963,” Mikulski’s office said. “It helps close the pay gap by empowering women to negotiate for equal pay, closing loopholes courts have created in the law, creating strong incentives for employers to obey the laws and strengthening federal outreach and enforcement efforts.”