WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen joined their colleagues in reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would help eliminate the gender wage gap and guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable. The bill would end the practice of pay secrecy and strengthen the available remedies for wronged employees.
“When women are paid less than men for doing the same job, it hurts workers, families, and our economy. It is long past time to move forward in addressing the pay disparities that women – especially women of color – face,” said Senator Hassan. “Our commonsense bill to strengthen paycheck fairness is all the more important amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn that has made it harder for families to get by. I am pleased to join my colleagues in reintroducing this critical legislation and will push for it to become law.”
“Despite the passage of legislation making pay discrimination illegal nearly 60 years ago, America’s working women, particularly women of color, continue to face a persistent pay gap in the workplace. This pay inequity has been worsened by the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis; in fact, women accounted for more than 100 percent of the net job loss in December. Now more than ever, our law must require that women are compensated equally and for the same work as their male colleagues,” said Senator Shaheen. “This legislation will protect and empower women by strengthening the Equal Pay Act, ensuring loopholes are closed and employers are held accountable for pay discrimination. We must never stop fighting for pay equality, and I will do everything in my power to push this bill through Congress and see it enacted into law.”
More than five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women on average still make only 82 cents, for every dollar earned by men. That gap is even wider for women of color. Compared to white men, Black women are paid 63 cents and Latina women are paid 55 cents. For a woman working full time year-round, the current wage gap represents a loss of more than $400,000 over the course of her career. The wage gap impacts women’s ability to save for retirement and reduces their total Social Security and pension benefits, contributing to more older women living in poverty.