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Higgins announces House passage of Paycheck Fairness Act

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Fri, Apr 16th 2021 01:35 pm

Legislation adds new protections combating gender-based pay discrimination 

Congressman Brian Higgins announced passage of H.R.7, the Paycheck Fairness Act.

A press release stated, “The legislation, cosponsored by Higgins, strengthens the 1963 Equal Pay Act by closing loopholes to provide women additional protections from pay discrimination and requiring, under the law, equal pay for equal work.”

Higgins said, “The wage gap is real and substantial. It hurts women, our economy and American families. The time to address pay equity in a meaningful way is long overdue.”

The press release continued, “Enacted in 1963, the Equal Pay Act aimed to remove pay disparities based on gender but was never fully realized due to loopholes in the law and weak sanctions. Today, a woman working full-time earns just 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, which amounts to a $10,157 a year difference. These disparities are even worse for women of color with, on average, Black women earning only 63 cents; Native American women earning only 60 cents; and Hispanic women earning only 55 cents, per dollar a man earns.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act works to expand existing law to include protections against pay discrimination based on gender and makes it unlawful for employers to prohibit workers from discussing or disclosing wages. The bill also examines ways to eliminate pay disparity, instructs government agencies to assist businesses in complying with equal pay laws, provides the public with information to better understand and address wage discrimination, and restricts employers from using salary history to determine future pay.

Higgins has been a strong supporter of similar paycheck fairness legislation in previous sessions, and supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed into law in 2009.

H.R. 7 is supported by a coalition of more than 200 organizations, including the National Organization for Women, MomsRising, NAACP, League of Women Voters, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, SEIU, United Steelworkers, AFSCME and American Federation of Teachers.

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