Peters Cosponsors Paycheck Fairness Act
Today Marks Equal Pay Day, Highlighting Wage Disparity between Men and Women
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) announced today that he is cosponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act to help give women in Michigan and across the country the tools they need to get equal pay for equal work. Today, April 14th marks Equal Pay Day, the date by which women have made up for the wage discrimination they suffered during the previous year. Women working full-time in the U.S. earn on average 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, and in Michigan, they earn just 75.3 cents for every dollar earned by men.
“As a father, I want to ensure that my two daughters have the same opportunities as my son and their hard work will not be discounted simply because of their gender,” said Senator Peters. “On Equal Pay Day, I urge the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to give women the information they need to fight pay disparity in the workplace and earn equal pay for equal work.”
Building on the landmark Equal Pay Act signed into law in 1963, the Paycheck Fairness Act closes loopholes and requires employers to show pay disparity is strictly related to job performance, not gender. The bill prohibits employers from suing or punishing employees who share salary information with co-workers, which is allowed under current law. It also strengthens remedies for pay discrimination by allowing women to seek both back pay and punitive damages.
“Fighting wage inequality is critical to helping working families in Michigan get ahead, not just get by,” added Senator Peters. “With more and more households counting on a woman’s income to pay the bills and put food on the table, wage discrimination takes money away from the families women are working so hard to support.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act includes a grant program to help women strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills. The bill also requires the Department of Labor to improve its outreach and training efforts to empower workers to challenge pay discrimination.
Senator Peters has been a strong, consistent supporter of wage equality for women. One of the first bills he supported and helped pass as a new member of Congress in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which overturned the 180-day statute of limitations for women to seek a legal remedy for lost wages caused by pay discrimination. Peters also cosponsored previous versions of the Paycheck Fairness Act as a member of the House.
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