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Equal Pay For Equal Work Media Advisory (#fairpay)

Barack Obama signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 1-29-09Equal Pay For Equal Work

The Ledbetter Act Has Been Signed, But More Needs To Be Done –
Equal Pay Day is April 28

HOLMES, PA.—If you are a woman working in Pennsylvania, chances are that you earn 25% less than what men earn. In the United States, working women earn 23% less than men each year. Throughout their lifetimes, women lose between $400,000 and $2,000,000 due to unequal pay.

April 28, 2009, is Equal Pay Day, the day when women finally catch up to men’s 2008 earnings. Although The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—which clarified that every discriminatory paycheck or action restarts the clock for filing a pay discrimination complaint—was signed in 2009, another bill, The Paycheck Fairness Act, would close many of the loopholes that allow unequal pay to persist.

“Every penny counts, especially during this recession when working families are already strapped for cash,” says Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA. “Working families are hit especially hard by the pay inequity since about $200 billion is lost each year because of the pay disparity between men and women.”

Equal pay means receiving comparable pay for comparable work. In other words, women and men with similar education and job responsibilities should earn the same pay. However, this is often not the case. In Pennsylvania, a male with a bachelor’s degree earns on average $59,475, while a female with the same degree earns $38,788. Meanwhile, a male with a professional degree earns $109,900 per year, while a female with the same degree earns less than half that salary ($51,718).

The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen the protections available under the Equal Pay Act and close the gaps that have led to a narrow, constrained reading of the law’s protections. It would also strengthen the enforcement tools used to uncover pay discrimination; prohibit unfair reprisals targeting employees who discuss pay and pay disparities on the job and encourage voluntary efforts by employers to evaluate – and correct when necessary – their own pay practices.

“We believe that supporting The Paycheck Fairness Act would put more money into the pockets of every family – money they have already earned,” notes Goertzel. “We are asking people to mark Equal Pay Day by asking their Senators and Representatives to cosponsor the Act.”
PathWays PA will also be taking part in the National Blog for Fair Pay Day 2009. Their blog postings can be found throughout the day at http://policypathwayspa.blogspot.com/.

PathWays PA began in 1978 as the Women's Association for Women's Alternatives, one of Pennsylvania's first residential programs to keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children. It has grown to become one of the Greater Philadelphia region's foremost providers of residential and community-based services for women and their children. Each year PathWays PA serves more than 6,000 women, children and families who reside in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Chester counties through a full complement of social services, job training and employment assistance, outreach and residential programs. Contact policy@pathwayspa.org with questions or to set up an interview.


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