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Congresswoman Wilson Votes to Pass Landmark Paycheck Fairness Act

Today Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson proudly voted for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which strengthens and closes loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act, including providing effective remedies for workers who are not being paid equal pay for equal work.

"House Democrats have passed this landmark legislation three times, but due to Republican opposition, it failed in the Senate. I am hopeful that with a new majority and administration that it will soon become law," said Congresswoman Wilson.

Fifty-eight years after the enactment of the Equal Pay Act, full-time working women still earn just 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, amounting to a yearly gap of $10,157 between full-time working men and women. The wage gap is also even larger for women of color. African American and Hispanic women on average earn only 63 cents and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. If women were paid the same as men, the poverty rate for all working women would be cut in half and the poverty rate for working single mothers would be cut by nearly half.

Among its key provisions, the Paycheck Fairness Act:

  • Requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons.
  • Bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages.
  • Ensures women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to discrimination based on race and national origin.
  • Removes obstacles in the Equal Pay Act to facilitate a wronged worker's participation in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination.
  • Makes improvements in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's and the Department of Labor's tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act.
  • Provides assistance to all businesses to help them with their equal pay practices, recognizes excellence in pay practices by businesses, and empowers women and girls by creating a negotiation skills training program.
  • Prohibits employers from seeking salary history in determining future pay, so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job.

Equal pay is not just a women's issue; it's a family issue. Two-thirds of mothers are either the sole breadwinner or a co-breadwinner in the household. When women are not paid fair wages, they are burdened with having to make difficult choices about how to pay for their families' critical needs, including rent, groceries, and child and medical care. This inequity also makes it extremely challenging to save for retirement.

"I have supported the Paycheck Fairness Act since my first year in Congress and firmly believe that closing the wage gap will benefit our entire society," Congresswoman Wilson added. "I applaud my colleague, Representative Rosa DeLauro, who has introduced this bill in Congress every year since 1997 and hope that 2021 will finally be the year we see this critical legislation enacted."