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House to Vote on Democrats' Equal Pay Bill Next Week

Do you support or oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act?

by Countable | 3.20.19

The House is expected to vote next week on the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7), which would revise existing enforcement mechanisms to prevent and reduce wage discrimination.

The bill would limit exceptions in laws prohibiting wage discrimination (including the Equal Pay Act) so that differences in pay between men and women would only be limited to bona fide factors — like education, training, or experience. Those defenses could only apply if the employer demonstrates that the factor in question:

  • Isn’t based upon a gender-based differential for compensation;
  • Is job-related with respect to the position;
  • Is consistent with the needs of the business; and
  • Accounts for the difference in compensation.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would also prohibit businesses from using the wage and benefit history of a prospective employee to determine their compensation ― unless it’s provided voluntarily after an offer has been extended to justify higher compensation than offered.

Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would issue regulations related to collecting compensation data from employers to analyze data regarding the gender, race and national origin of employees for use in the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting pay discrimination.

What are both sides saying?

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, says it will help close the wage between women and men who work the same jobs:

“Women and men in the same job should have the same pay, and the Paycheck Fairness Act is a strong step forward in ensuring that we close the wage gap once and for all. This legislation addresses the issue in a comprehensive and sensible manner—and it is long overdue. Our diverse and energetic Congress is poised to act on this legislation, and I look forward to its swift passage in the House of Representatives.”

House Republicans opposed this bill in the Education & Labor Committee, where it passed on a party-line 27-19 vote. Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and the GOP members of the committee summed up their opposition in the bill’s committee report:

“First, the bill dramatically limits and likely eliminates the ability of business owners to defend claims of discrimination based on pay differences that arise from lawful and legitimate purposes, while radically expanding liability and damages under the [Equal Pay Act]. The bill also obstructs the recruitment and hiring process by restricting use of information related to a prospective employee's current compensation. Further, the bill requires a burdensome, intrusive, and unnecessary government collection of questionable utility of worker pay data. The data is broken down by race, sex, and national origin, and raises significant confidentiality and privacy concerns.”

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / hyejin kang)

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