State Politics

Georgia Dems Back Paycheck Fairness Act

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to provide remedies for women in the workplace who are not being paid equally for equal work. Reports have indicated that full-time working women earn only 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, which amounts to an annual disparity of $10,157 and a career disparity of more than $400,000.

The bill’s remedies include requiring employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons and offers new tools for the Department of Labor to enforce pay equity.

The Paycheck Fairness Act also:

  • 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 (EEOC’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.

The bill passed 217-210 with two representatives not voting. Georgia’s Congressional delegation was split down party lines, and only one Republican in the House voted in favor of the bill – Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

“Nearly 60 years ago, we passed the Equal Pay Act and yet we still have not reached our goal of equal pay for equal work. The gender pay gap still exists and is even larger for women of color, but the average woman earns 82 cents for every dollar a man earns—for the same work—adding up to a gap of at least $10,157 every single year, and $406,280 over a lifetime. The bill we passed today will close loopholes and help get us closer to fairness and equality for women in America,” Congressman Sanford Bishop said.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath echoed, “Every American should earn equal pay for equal work, regardless of their gender. During this pandemic, we’ve seen that essential workers, especially women, are the lifeblood of our society. Working mothers and women across our nation, especially those keeping our communities going during the last year, deserve to be paid the same as their male counterparts. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill and to vote in support of it today. The passage of this bill marks an important step toward helping women and families in Georgia—and across our country—thrive.”

Congresswoman Nikema Williams said in a statement, “Equal pay is not simply a women’s issue; it’s a family issue. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on women, who have lost a million more jobs than men, creating even greater urgency for this legislation to become law. That is why I was proud to vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act. This legislation would bring the country one step closer to ensuring women are finally getting the pay they deserve.”   

You can read the text of the bill here. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of The Georgia Virtue. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta, a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast,' and she has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers." Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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