Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) voted to pass H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, landmark legislation that will help close the gender wage gap by strengthening equal pay protections for women. The bill would create more effective remedies for women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work, and passed the House with bipartisan support.
“Every American should earn equal pay for equal work, regardless of their gender. During this pandemic, we’ve seen that essential workers, especially women, are the lifeblood of our society. Working mothers and women across our nation, especially those keeping our communities going during the last year, deserve to be paid the same as their male counterparts,” said McBath. “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill and to vote in support of it today. The passage of this bill marks an important step toward helping women and families in Georgia—and across our country—thrive.”
Nearly six decades after Congress enacted the 1963 Equal Pay Act, there is still a serious wage gap based on gender and race. Full-time working women earn only 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, which amounts to an annual disparity of $10,157 and a career disparity of more than $400,000. The gap is even larger for women of color: on average, Black women earn just 63 cents, Native American women just 60 cents and Latinas just 55 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns.
The bill’s remedies include requiring employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons, new tools for the Department of Labor to enforce pay equity and protections against retaliation for workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose wages.
To help close this gap, the Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens the protections and closes the loopholes in the Equal Pay Act. The bill would:
- Require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons and ban retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages.
- Prohibit employers from relying on salary history in determining future pay, so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job.
- Improve the Department of Labor’s tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act and ensure women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to pay discrimination based on race and ethnicity.
- Provide assistance to all businesses to help them with their equal pay practices and create a negotiation skills training program to help women negotiate higher pay.
The Paycheck Fairness Act also passed on a bipartisan vote in the House in the previous Congress.