Support the Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R. 7 – Vote Against Harmful Amendments and for Final Passage
View a PDF of this letter here.
March 26, 2019
Support the Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R. 7
Vote Against Harmful Amendments and for Final Passage
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to vote in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7) and to oppose any motions to recommit and any harmful amendments when the bill is brought to a vote on the House floor.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to provide more effective protection against sex-based pay discrimination. Equal pay for equal work is an issue of economic security and fundamental fairness, but for too many women, and especially women of color, it remains far from reality. On average, women working full-time, year-round in the United States are paid about 80 cents for every dollar paid to men.[i] Based on that wage gap, women, on average, would lose $403,440 over the course of a 40-year career.[ii] The gender pay disparity, however, is compounded by race. African-American women, for example, are paid only 61 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic, white men; and Latinas are paid just 53 cents.[iii] This gap translates into lifetime losses of $867,920 and $1,056,120 for African-American women and Latinas, respectively.[iv]
Research shows that the gender pay gap occurs across almost all occupations and industries and that it develops very early in women’s careers. Employer practices, such as using prior salary history in setting pay levels and prohibiting employees from discussing their wages, helps to perpetuate and widen the pay gap, putting less money in women’s pockets and negatively impacting women’s social security and retirement.
Closing the pay gap would have a profound impact on millions of women and their families. According to a recent report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the poverty rate for all working women would be cut in half, and approximately 25.8 million children would benefit from the increased earnings of their mothers.[v]
Given the importance of this bill, we urge representatives to pass H.R. 7 without amendments that limit the bill’s scope or undermine its protections.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would:
- Prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss or disclose wages;
- Prevent employers from relying on salary history to determine future pay so that pay discrimination does not extend from job to job;
- Close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act that have allowed employers to pay women less than men for the same work without any business necessity related to the job;
- Ensure that women can obtain the same remedies for sex-based pay discrimination as those available to those subjected to discrimination based on race and ethnicity;
- Provide for much needed training and technical assistance and require wage data collection.
Women and their families should not be shortchanged. We urge you to support economic security for women and their families by voting yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7) and against any harmful amendments. The Leadership Conference will score votes associated with this bill and any amendments in our voting record for the 116th Congress. Please contact Gaylynn Burroughs, Senior Policy Counsel, at (202) 548-7163 or [email protected], if you have any questions.
Vanita Gupta Kristine Lucius
President & CEO Executive Vice President
[i] AAUW, “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap,” https://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/.
[ii] National Women’s Law Center, “The Lifetime Wage Gap, State by State.” https://nwlc.org/resources/the-lifetime-wage-gap-state-by-state/.
[iii] AAUW, “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap,” https://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/.
[iv] National Women’s Law Center, “The Lifetime Wage Gap, State by State.” https://nwlc.org/resources/the-lifetime-wage-gap-state-by-state/.
[v] Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “The Impact of Equal Pay on Poverty and the Economy,” https://iwpr.org/publications/impact-equal-pay-poverty-economy/.