Legislation Will Help Close Pay Gap for Women
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S Senator Gary Peters (MI) announced today he is cosponsoring legislation to help working women fight against wage disparity and gender discrimination in the workplace. The Paycheck Fairness Act would amend the Equal Pay Act passed in 1938 to close loopholes that currently make it easy for companies to pay female employees less solely on the basis of gender. Nationwide, women currently make about 79 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same positions, while in Michigan women make about 74 cents on the dollar. Due to this gap, women in Michigan earn more than $500,000 less on average during their lifetime.
“There is no reason that a woman as equally qualified as her male counterpart should not be paid the same wage for doing the same job,” said Senator Peters. “Making sure women have the tools to address this pay gap and holding employers accountable is a crucial step towards getting hardworking women the salary they have earned.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act would amend the Equal Pay Act to require employers to demonstrate pay disparities are not based on sex, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss salary information. It also prevents employers from seeking the salary history of prospective new employees to prevent wage gaps from carrying over into new workplaces. The legislation would also require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to provide specific training to employees for the handling of pay discrepancy cases.
Senator Peters has been a strong supporter of equal pay for women. In 2009 as a member of Congress, Peters helped pass 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 the Paycheck Fairness Act when it was introduced in the 114th Congress.