Paycheck Fairness Act: It’s Time to End the Gender Pay Gap

Depiction of how much women are earning during the past years

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many individuals, particularly Hollywood actresses, are standing up for the inequalities women in the workforce experience. One of the effects of this is that House Democrats, together with seven Republicans, were able to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act on the last week of March. The bill aims to eliminate pay discrimination against women in the workplace.

Women Historically Receive Lower Wages than Men

The gender pay gap between men and women workers has existed for a long time. Female workers in the US earn, on average, 82 cents of a dollar every male worker earns despite performing the same job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the women-to-men earnings ratio stayed in the range of 80 to 83 percent since 2004.

Although you can resolve other forms of discrimination in the workplace through law mediation, settling wage inequalities could be much more complicated. Employers usually base the current salary of female employees on their salary history. They also prohibit employees from discussing their wages in the workplace.

This problem doesn’t only exist in Hollywood. Women also experience paycheck discrimination in different occupations, such as:

  • Financial managers
  • Physician and surgeons
  • Accountants and auditors
  • Registered nurses
  • Lawyers

The House had passed the bill in 2008 and 2009, but it didn’t win in the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, reintroduced the bill believing that the time was ripe for this legal change.

A Closer Look at The Paycheck Fairness Act

House Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) penned the Paycheck Fairness Act and introduced it in 1997, In essence, the bill focuses on providing men and women equal pay for doing equal work. It would also forbid companies from asking job applicants about their previous salary and retaliating against employees who share wage information. Violators will face a higher degree of penalties.

Additionally, the Department of Labor would need to know how much companies pay their employees. They have to justify that any differences in the wages are not based on sex but on education and experience.

Despite having the House majority and the support from Democratic lawmakers, the support of Senate Republicans and the US President is necessary to make the bill into law.

Women Deserve Equal Pay

Side view of a male and female rival business colleagues in office

Republicans argue that gender discrimination is already illegal, which makes the Paycheck Fairness Act unnecessary. Still, women earn 20 percent less than men, and the gap is wider for women of color. The opposing side also argues that the bill might discourage companies from hiring more women, which implies that they believe gender pay gap exists.

Additionally, equal pay would reduce poverty among working women and their families by more than half. Knowing that they receive equal wages, employees would be more efficient and productive. Women are likely to add $513 billion to the national economy, too, if their payment is equal to men.

It’s 2019. It’s high time to erase workplace inequalities. Asking about the prior salary must stop as it only continues the wage disparities. More women are now speaking out against different forms of discrimination in the workplace. House Democrats listen, hence, the fight for Paycheck Fairness Act continues.

 

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