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house Bill H.R. 7

Should the Equal Pay Act Be Strengthened to Reduce the Wage Gap?

Argument in favor

Women should receive equal pay for equal work, but in too many cases they get paid significantly less than their male peers do in the same role. The federal government needs to crack down on employers who pay women less.

Sandra's Opinion
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03/21/2019
Man....equal pay for equal work....We were marching for this back in the 70's
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futurePOTUS's Opinion
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03/27/2019
isn’t it fascinating that every comment here saying the wage gap doesn’t exist identifies as a dude? odd.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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03/27/2019
And while you’re at it, pass the ERA. Why are you guys so afraid of women? We’ve only been at this since the 60’s.
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Argument opposed

There are plenty of reasons that one employee might make more money than another — including education, experience, and training. Wage disparities are often the result of differences in people’s abilities, not gender discrimination.

SneakyPete's Opinion
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03/25/2019
👎🏻 HOUSE Bill H.R. 7 AKA the “Paycheck Fairness Act” 👎🏻 “EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK PERFORMED” House Bill H.R. 7 AKA the “Paycheck Fairness Act” which would revise existing enforcement mechanisms to prevent wage discrimination based on gender. Exceptions in laws that prohibit wage differences between men and women would be limited to bona fide factors — like education, training, or experience. PAY should based on performance and qualifications of the employee and Not based on gender. If a female employee out-performs that of fellow ale employees, then of course, she should be compensated accordingly. If both a female and male employee perform at the same level of competence, they should both be paid accordingly equal. There are plenty of reasons that one employee might make more money than another — including education, experience, and training. Wage disparities are often the result of differences in people’s abilities, not gender discrimination. SneakyPete......... 👎🏻HR-7👎🏻. 3*24*19..........
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Bryce's Opinion
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03/27/2019
It has been proven time and again that there is no substantial evidence supporting the gender wage gap. If you have any doubt, watch the video about the Wage Gap by PrageU on YouTube.
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Miles's Opinion
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03/27/2019
Taking into account hours worked/time off, years of work & experience, I’ve seen that the “wage gap” is like 3 or 4 cents. You can’t just say “this is what men make & this is what women make”-that is dumb “research” & don’t you think if women could be hired for less that people would only hire women so they could pay them less? Use your brain cell.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed March 27th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 242 Yea / 187 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
    IntroducedJanuary 30th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 7?

This bill would revise existing enforcement mechanisms to prevent wage discrimination based on gender. Exceptions in laws that prohibit wage differences between men and women would be limited to bona fide factors — like education, training, or experience.

Defenses based on bona fide factors could only apply if the employer demonstrates that the factor in question:

  • Is not based upon a gender-based differential for compensation;

  • Is job-related with respect to the position in question;

  • Is consistent with the needs of the business;

  • Accounts for the difference in compensation.

This defense wouldn't apply when the employee can demonstrate that an alternative employment practice exists that serves the same business purpose without leading to a pay difference and their employer refused to adopt that practice.

The prohibition against employer retaliation for complaints by employees would be revised to bar retaliation for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of an employee in response to:

  • A complaint or accusation of gender discrimination;

  • An investigation, proceeding, hearing or other action;

  • An investigation conducted by the employer.

It would be illegal to require employees to sign a contract or waiver preventing them from disclosing information about their wages. Businesses would be prohibited from requesting wage and benefit histories from prospective employees or their employer, and companies couldn't use a prospective employee's wage history to determine their compensation unless it's provided voluntarily after an employment offer has been extended to support a higher wage than offered.

Employers who violate gender discrimination rules  would be liable for civil compensatory or punitive damages — although the federal government would be exempt from paying the punitive fines.

The Dept. of Labor would be authorized to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a gender discrimination action. All such actions could be pursued as class action suits without the written consent of individual plaintiffs. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Compliance Programs would train EEOC employees, affected individuals and entities about wage discrimination. EEOC 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.

Impact

Women in the workforce; anyone who suspects they have been subjected to pay discrimination based on their gender; businesses that are practicing or have been accused of pay discrimination; and relevant federal agencies — especially the EEOC and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 7

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced this legislation from the 115th Congress to help close the wage gap 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.”

Lily Ledbetter — the plaintiff in the employment discrimination case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and a women's equality activist, public speaker, and author who's the namesake of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009expressed her support for this bill: 

"Ten years ago, Congress and President Obama achieved an important victory for women seeking to challenge pay discrimination in court with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. But it was never intended for that bill to be passed as the only fix for the ongoing pay disparity between men and women. Women across the country still need the tools in the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure they get equal pay for equal work. I applaud Congresswoman DeLauro for her leadership in this fight since 1997, as well as Speaker Pelosi for being a tireless advocate and making this a priority in the new Congress. Now is the time to get this done."

The Center for American Progress (CAP) supports this bill. Jocelyn Frye, senior fellow at CAP's Women's Initiative, says

"The Paycheck Fairness Act represents a critical step forward in the fight for equal pay, and its passage is long overdue. Ensuring women are paid fairly for their work is essential to upholding our national commitment to equality and is inextricably linked with working families’ economic security. Nearly two-thirds of women serve as their family’s sole, primary, or co-breadwinner, which is why the strength of America’s economy rests on women. Yet, women continue to face persistent pay disparities in the workplace. The Paycheck Fairness Act would tackle this problem head on by improving worker protections to limit pay secrecy, promoting employer accountability, and strengthening the investigatory tools that enforcement agencies can use to uncover pay disparities... The failure to effectively combat pay discrimination puts women and the families they support at an economic disadvantage, and what may seem like pennies an hour translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime—and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy as a whole.  Women of color, who experience the sharpest pay disparities, are particularly hard-hit."

Republicans — who generally oppose this bill — say it's unnecessary because pay discrimination based on gender is already illegal under the Equal Pay Act, which provides employees with a legal mechanism to claim pay discrimination and seek redress. They also contend that this bill's regulations would serve to discourage companies from hiring women, thereby hurting women in the workforce rather than helping them. In the bill's committee report, GOP members summed up their opposition:

"Simply put, H.R. 7 does little to protect the wages and paychecks of American workers and does far more to line the pockets of the plaintiffs' trial-lawyer bar. 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."

The House Education and Labor Committee passed this bill with an amendment by a 27-19 vote with the support of 239 bipartisan House cosponsors of this bill, including 238 Democrats and one Republican, in the current session of Congress. A Senate version of this bill  in the 116th Congress, introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), has 46 cosponsors, including 44 Democrats and two Independents.

In the 115th Congress, Rep. DeLauro introduced this bill with the support of 201 bipartisan cosponsors, including 200 Democrats and one Republican, in the House and it didn't receive a committee vote. Sen. Murray also introduced a Senate version with the support of 48 cosponsors, including 47 Democrats and one Independent, and it also didn't receive a committee vote.

This bill has the support of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), National Partnership for Women & Families, National Organization for Women (NOW), EMILY's List, and Center for American Progress (CAP).

Democrats have attempted to pass this bill for 20 years. Since 2012, House Republicans have voted at least four times to block this bill from consideration, arguing that it'd make it too easy for workers to sue firms over pay inequality allegations, leading to unnecessary lawsuits.


Of Note
: In 2009, the Department of Labor requested the publication of a report detailing the causes of the wage disparity between men and women: 

“This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices made by both male and female workers.”

Claims that women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men have been enthusiastically embraced by some and brushed aside as a statistical myth by others in pursuit of their respective policy goals. A deeper examination of the issue done by the American Association of University Women put the figure closer to 91 cents for every dollar men earn. Another analysis in Slate highlighted observations that such figures are an oversimplification of a complex issue, which discount personal choices made by male and female workers.

In January 2019, the National Partnership for Women & Families contended

"Today, women who work full time, year-round are paid, on average, only 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, resulting in a gap of $10,169 each yearThe gap exists in every state, regardless of geography, occupation, education or work patterns. And it is worse for women of color: On average, Latinas are typically paid 53 cents, Native American women 58 cents and Black women just 61 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. White, non- Hispanic women are paid 77 cents and Asian women 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non- Hispanic men, although some ethnic subgroups of Asian women fare much worse."

The Obama administration emphasized that women should be paid equally, but 2014 statistics showed that women were earning about 87 percent of what their male counterparts were in the White House. Things were no different in 2009, and the 13 percent wage gap between men and women persisted through the Obama administration.

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / hyejin kang)

AKA

Paycheck Fairness Act

Official Title

To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.

    Man....equal pay for equal work....We were marching for this back in the 70's
    Like (152)
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    👎🏻 HOUSE Bill H.R. 7 AKA the “Paycheck Fairness Act” 👎🏻 “EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK PERFORMED” House Bill H.R. 7 AKA the “Paycheck Fairness Act” which would revise existing enforcement mechanisms to prevent wage discrimination based on gender. Exceptions in laws that prohibit wage differences between men and women would be limited to bona fide factors — like education, training, or experience. PAY should based on performance and qualifications of the employee and Not based on gender. If a female employee out-performs that of fellow ale employees, then of course, she should be compensated accordingly. If both a female and male employee perform at the same level of competence, they should both be paid accordingly equal. There are plenty of reasons that one employee might make more money than another — including education, experience, and training. Wage disparities are often the result of differences in people’s abilities, not gender discrimination. SneakyPete......... 👎🏻HR-7👎🏻. 3*24*19..........
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    isn’t it fascinating that every comment here saying the wage gap doesn’t exist identifies as a dude? odd.
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    And while you’re at it, pass the ERA. Why are you guys so afraid of women? We’ve only been at this since the 60’s.
    Like (84)
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    Pay should be based on performance not gender or race or religion. This is fair this is American and this should be passed
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    No shit Sherlock! I'm praying to be able to retire in 6 years, that means I will have been working for over 51 years. The past two years I have worked 7 days a week and been on call 24 hours a day. I havent come close to earning the $241,000 Congress gets in one year with God Only Knows How Many Vacations! I have had NONE. WE DAMN WELL DESERVE MORE THAN EQUAL PAY AFTER ALL THIS TIME WAITING! WE THE WOMEN OF THESE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ARE NOT NOW, NOR HAVE WE EVER BEEN SECOND CLASS CITIZENS
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    It’s amazing that we still have to debate something like this in 2019. If there is a difference in pay between two people of different genders and there’s no difference in education, training, or experience then it is gender discrimination, plain and simple!
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    It has been proven time and again that there is no substantial evidence supporting the gender wage gap. If you have any doubt, watch the video about the Wage Gap by PrageU on YouTube.
    Like (37)
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    why not? If they are doing the same job, why not the same pay?
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    Taking into account hours worked/time off, years of work & experience, I’ve seen that the “wage gap” is like 3 or 4 cents. You can’t just say “this is what men make & this is what women make”-that is dumb “research” & don’t you think if women could be hired for less that people would only hire women so they could pay them less? Use your brain cell.
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    Absolutely. Mounting Evidence from numerous studies shows that even JUST OUT OF COLLEGE, men are offered 20-25% more than a woman for the same job with same degree. Other more advanced countries have tackled this issue successfully - Iceland, for example. Let’s stop enforcing the misconception that men are better than women and take a page from Iceland’s playbook. It’s called doing the right thing which, for some reason, seems to be ignored by male politicians.
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    Studies show that there is no actual wage difference. Women who stop to raise families, then go back to school and get and/or get a job later in life start later and are not paid as much because of lack of experience as and/or training on the job market. Those women who stayed in the job market are equal to or more than men are paid.
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    Yes. Remove the wage gap. Do something the Founding Father’s would be proud of when they said “All men are created equal”.
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    That sounds good but Trump won’t sign it and the Republican senate won’t go for it. What are the republicans actually good for other than nothing? I suppose Trump and his comrads are calling equal rights socialism.
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    Women are people. Equal pay for equal work.
    Like (18)
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    This is already in place- in 2019 the wage gap is becoming non existent. This is more DNC socialism.
    Like (17)
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    The bill closes loopholes in the Equal Pay act from 1963, such as prohibiting employers from using salary history in setting new hire pay and banning retaliation from employers for discussing salary with fellow employees. We need to have this bill passed!!
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    The current laws are sufficient. Equal pay for equal work and abilities. Each company determines what will be the wages offered. That is the way our Capitalist system works.
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    What a stupid question. Of course!
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    If you work hard your pay should reflect that. No one with a college education should be living below the poverty line. Equal pay for equal work. Race, gender, sexual orientations,Shouldn’t matter .
    Like (11)
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