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Paycheck Fairness Act Aims to Close Wage Gap

Today, women make just 77 cents for every dollar made by a man for equal work, about $434,000 over their careers. Sponsors of the reintroduced Paycheck Fairness Act, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), say the proposed bill will help close that gap.

The pair has introduced the bill several times in recent years, but Republicans have been able to block action on the bill, most recently last summer with a Senate filibuster.

Mikulski says that four years after the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law,

It's time to finish the job and stop wage discrimination from happening in the first place. Equal pay is not just for our pocketbooks, it's about family checkbooks and getting it right in the law books. The Paycheck Fairness Act ensures that women will no longer be fighting on their own for equal pay for equal work.

The bill would strengthen penalties that courts may impose for equal pay violations and prohibit retaliation against workers who inquire about or disclose information about employers' wage practices. The bill also would require employers to show pay disparity is truly related to job performance—not gender. It has 23 co-sponsors in the Senate and 130 in the House

Equal pay is not just a problem for women, says DeLauro, “but for families, who are trying to pay their bills, trying to get ahead, trying to achieve the American dream and are getting a smaller paycheck than they have earned for their hard work.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act will help the Equal Pay Act fulfill its intended objective, offer real protections to ensure equal pay for equal work and see that women are paid the same as the other half of our nation's workforce for the same job.

The legislation has yet to be assigned bill numbers.

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