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Federal Lawmakers Introduce New Paycheck Fairness Act

At the current rate, working women won't close the pay gap with men until 2059, according to the National Organization for Women. (Criene/Twenty20)
At the current rate, working women won't close the pay gap with men until 2059, according to the National Organization for Women. (Criene/Twenty20)
January 31, 2019

LANSING, Mich. – The simple proposition that women ought to make the same amount of money as men for the same job is back in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Paycheck Fairness Act was reintroduced on Wednesday and is backed by every Democrat in the chamber.

House Resolution 7 would build on the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was signed into law 10 years ago this week.

Michele Leber, chair of the National Committee on Pay Equity, says one important provision would forbid companies from using a person's salary history in employment decisions.

"Salary history would tend to have men earning more than women - and then, when they were applying for new jobs, they would be paid based on that salary, and discrepancies would just expand over the years," she points out.

Right now, Michigan doesn't prohibit asking about salary history on job applications.

The act would also make it illegal to retaliate against employees for sharing salary information.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act before April 2, which is Equal Pay Day, the day each year that marks how long women have to work to make what a man made in the prior year.

Statistics show that white women make 80 cents to a man's dollar, a figure that is even lower for black and Latina women.

Leber says that bodes poorly for most women as they age.

"Even right out of college, men are earning more than women,” she points out. “And those disparities just expand over the years, leaving women with lower retirement, Social Security, and more likelihood of being in poverty."

The Paycheck Fairness Act would also require federal agencies to collect data on wage discrimination and make it public.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MI