Washington, DC- On the heels of Equal Pay Day, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), highlighting new data, pushed for an up or down vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. A 2013 study showed Pennsylvania’s wage gap is 40th among states, which is worse than states like Kentucky and Oklahoma. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act would finally give workers the tools they need to find gender discrimination in pay. Right now women are paid just 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. The pay gap translates to $10,876 in lost median earnings per year and has impacts for workers later in life as women are twice as likely to retire in poverty.
“All Americans deserve equal pay for equal work,” Senator Casey said. “This disparity places a burden on women and their families during their working years, and jeopardizes their retirement and financial security later in life. Congress should help close the wage gap by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act builds upon the landmark Equal Pay Act signed into law in 1963 by closing loopholes that have kept it from achieving its goal of equal pay. The bill would require employers to show pay disparity is truly related to job-performance, not gender.
It also prohibits employer retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers. Under current law employers can sue and punish employees for sharing such information. In addition, it strengthens remedies for pay discrimination by increasing compensation women can seek, allowing them to seek both back pay and punitive damages for pay discrimination.
The bill empowers women in the workplace through a grant program to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills, and requires the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to eliminate pay disparities.
A study by the National Women’s Law Center on pay equality by state can be found here: LINK. New data on the pay gap produced by the Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors can be found here: LINK.