In honor of Equal Pay Day, April 12, 2011, the Paycheck Fairness Act was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate to strengthen federal pay equity laws and ensure equal pay for equal work. A companion bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives.
To learn more about Equal Pay Day, read our Equal Pay Day blog post.
Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act legislation:
- Clarifies the 'any factor other than sex' defense so an employer trying to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must show the disparity is not sex-based. The disparity must be job related and is necessary for the business.
- Prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss or disclose salary information with their co-workers.
- Strengthens the remedies available to include punitive and compensatory damages. Under the EPA currently, plaintiffs can only recover back pay or, in some cases, double back pay. The bill would ensure that women can receive the same remedies for pay discrimination that are available under other laws for discrimination based on race and national origin.
- Requires the Department of Labor to improve outreach and training efforts to work with employers in order to eliminate pay disparities.
- Enhances the collection of information on women's and men's wages in order to more fully explore the reasons for the wage gap and help employers in addressing pay disparities.
- Creates a new grant program to help strengthen the negotiation skills of girls and women.
The above information was provided by Senator Barbara Mikulski.