Press Releases

Beyer Votes For Legislation To Strengthen Equal Pay Act And Reduce The Wage Gap

Paycheck Fairness Act passes with Beyer amendment to increase pay data transparency

Rep. Don Beyer today voted for H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, landmark legislation to help close the gender wage gap by strengthening equal pay protections for women.  The bill, which passed in the House, would create more effective remedies for women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work, including requiring employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons, new tools for the Department of Labor to enforce pay equity, and protections against retaliation for workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose wages.

“Today the House took a big step forward on equal pay for women,” said Rep. Beyer. “This historic legislation to reduce the wage gap and increase fairness in the workplace is long overdue. The Paycheck Fairness Act will help American women and the millions of families which depend on them, and strengthen our nation’s economy.”

The legislation also included Beyer’s amendment, adopted by the full House, which would require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to provide for an annual collection of compensation data from employers disaggregated by the sex, race, and national origin of employees. Beyer argued during a speech on the House floor that increased measurement of pay disparities would help close the pay gap.

Text of the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, is available here.

Nearly six decades after Congress enacted the 1963 Equal Pay Act, there is still a serious wage gap based on gender and race.  Full-time working women earn only 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, which amounts to an annual disparity of $10,157 and a career disparity of more than $400,000.  The gap is even larger for women of color: on average, Black women earn just 63 cents, Native American women just 60 cents and Latinas just 55 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns.

To help close this gap, the Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens the protections and closes the loopholes in the Equal Pay Act.  The bill would:

•                     Require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons and ban retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages.

•                     Prohibit employers from relying on salary history in determining future pay, so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job.

•                     Improve the Department of Labor’s tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act and ensure women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to pay discrimination based on race and ethnicity.

•                     Provide assistance to all businesses to help them with their equal pay practices and create a negotiation skills training program to help women negotiate higher pay.