A ‘Paycheck Fairness Act’ introduced in Congress last week would require employers to show pay disparity is related to job-performance and prohibit employer retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers.
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, both Democrats, said their legislation is aimed at closing the pay gap between men and women and would also address loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act.
Currently, the law allows employers to sue or otherwise punish employees for sharing their salary information and women still make just 77 cents on their male counterpart’s dollar, according to Sen. Mikulski’s office.
In President Barack Obama’s Inaugural address on Jan. 21, he said a priority in his current term would be effectively closing the pay gap. During the first few weeks of his first term, Obama’s signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which overturned the 180-day statute of limitations for women to contest pay discrimination.
Mikulski and DeLauro said the Paycheck Fairness Act would also allow women to seek punitive damages for pay discrimination, establish a grant program to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills and require the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to eliminate pay disparities.