Help Working Families: Support S. 182, Paycheck Fairness Act

Media 09.13,10

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of over 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to support the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182). S. 182 would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially the same work.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which the House of Representatives passed overwhelmingly in January 2009 by a 256-163 margin, closes loopholes in the EPA that have diluted its effectiveness in combating unfair and unequal pay. While the EPA has helped to narrow the wage gap between men and women in our workforce, significant disparities remain and need to be addressed.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would:

  • Ensure that women can obtain the same remedies for sex-based pay discrimination as those available to victims of race-based and national origin discrimination;

  • Eliminate unfair defenses to pay discrimination currently available to employers;

  • Prohibit employer retaliation against employees who disclose or discuss their salaries;

  • Improve wage data collection;

  • Make clear that individuals may compare themselves to similarly situated employees to determine whether wage discrimination exists, even if those employees do not work in the same physical location.

In today’s economic climate, women’s wages are critical components of working families’ struggle to make ends meet. Women in particular are often forced to raise their families onincomes lower than male colleagues performing the same jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women who work full time still earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar men earn. In 2008, women were 35 percent more likely to live in poverty than men. The statistics are even worse for women of color. The Paycheck Fairness Act would help ensure that women workers are not shortchanged, thus promoting stable family incomes and preventing the kinds of home foreclosures and credit defaults that precipitated the recent recession.

We urge you to support economic security for working families by voting for the Paycheck Fairness Act. Please contact Lexer Quamie, Counsel at (202) 466-3648, or Nancy Zirkin at (202) 263-2880, if you have any questions.


Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President