Democrats in both houses of Congress are introducing the “Paycheck Fairness Act” aimed at strengthening equal pay protections for women in the workplace.
The law would add provisions to the equal pay act of 1963 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
Among them are prohibiting pay based on salary history, instead mandating that salary is based on an employee’s current worth in the marketplace and it would expand the ability of workers in similar jobs to share salary information.
“I cannot tell you how difficult it has been to break through on something so simple that men and women in the same job deserve the same pay,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said. “That’s what this is about.”
Equal pay plaintiff Lilly Ledbetter said, “President Kennedy signed that equal pay law in 1963. But 50 years later women are still being paid only 80 cents for every dollar men earn. Those pennies add up to real money. That’s why the paycheck fairness act is so important. It provides real protection for real employees in the real world.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said, “We cannot ask for salary history and pay people depending on their salary history anymore… anymore. Because it is time we pay people what they are worth and not how little they are desperate enough to accept. It is time to pay people what they are worth and that has nothing to do with their history, it has everything to do with what they are worth today.”
Every Democrat and one Republican in the House of Representatives is co-sponsoring the bill. 44 senators have signed on to the legislation.