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senate Bill S. 2200

Equal Pay for Equal Work: Letting Employees Freely Discuss Wages and Benefits

Argument in favor

Employees should be able to discuss details of their compensation to figure out if they’re getting equal pay for equal work — and not fear retaliation. This bill protects that First Amendment right.

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11/24/2015
"America now has more wealth and income inequality than any major developed country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is wider than at any time since the 1920s." [berniesanders.com]
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BarackObama's Opinion
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11/24/2015
"Pay secrecy fosters discrimination and we shouldn't tolerate it." [money.cnn.com]
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DonaldTrump's Opinion
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11/24/2015
"I respect women, I love women, I cherish women... I will take care of women, and I have great respect for women." [huffingtonpost.com]
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Argument opposed

Businesses should be allowed to take punitive actions against employees that discuss details about their compensation — especially if that information is used against the business by its competitors.

John's Opinion
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11/15/2015
No no no!!! Just because people do the same job does not mean the do it with the same skills and perform it with the same voracity. Equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome. If you feel you are worth more because you do excellent work, ask for a raise. If you think you deserve a raise only because someone else you work with earns more than you, cry me a river...
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Tafinzer's Opinion
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03/02/2017
If this were approved it may help many of my fellow citizens. The hidden trouble here is just like in the unions. It takes away the incentive to excel. Creates an "All people doing my job should be paid the same" wage sort of attitude. I don't believe that should be approved. Anything that improves competition makes human beings Excel.
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Tylersmith's Opinion
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05/04/2016
The wage gap isn't real. There is nothing to discuss. No need to. People need to realize there is no gender discrimination for work. Besides if woman made .77 to the man's dollar, then why even hire men??
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
    IntroducedOctober 22nd, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 2200?

This bill would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against an employee for discussing compensation information (i.e. how much they make). Retaliation could come in the form of firing or other forms of punishment.

By bolstering the enforcement of requirements in the Equal Pay Act and protecting open discussion, this bill hopes to help employees find out if their colleagues are getting equal pay for equal work.

All the same, this provision doesn't protect employees who have access to the compensation details of other employees as part of their job, and who then disclose that information to other employees who wouldn’t otherwise have access to that information. The only time such a disclosure would be permitted is in response a complaint or during the course of an investigation.

Impact

Employees who wish to discuss compensation information with their counterparts to determine if they are receiving equal pay for equal work. employees that have access to other workers compensation information, and employers.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2200

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) — the lead sponsor of this legislation — said in an introductory press release that her bill represents “an important step forward” in promoting equal pay for equal work. Sen. Fischer added that:

“Any legislator — Republican or Democrat — who is seriously interested in making progress on this issue for women and moving past electioneering and scoring political points should step up and support the proposal. For the first time in over half a century, we have the opportunity to update the Equal Pay Act with a bill that actually provides needed changes and can realistically pass.”

Democrats have been reluctant to embrace this bill despite the fact that it is part of their own more robust Paycheck Fairness Act. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) believes that Republicans need to “put real solutions on the table” to address pay discrepancies between men and women, and that Sen. Fischer’s bill falls short of that.

Previously, this legislation had been tacked on to the initial budget resolution for fiscal year 2016 as an amendment, passing with the bipartisan support of 53 Republicans, two Independents and one Democrat in the Senate.

President Obama issued an executive order in April 2014 that also banned businesses from retaliating against employees who disclose their compensation information.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: pexels.com)

AKA

Workplace Advancement Act

Official Title

A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to strengthen equal pay requirements.

    "America now has more wealth and income inequality than any major developed country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is wider than at any time since the 1920s." [berniesanders.com]
    Like (338)
    Follow
    Share
    No no no!!! Just because people do the same job does not mean the do it with the same skills and perform it with the same voracity. Equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome. If you feel you are worth more because you do excellent work, ask for a raise. If you think you deserve a raise only because someone else you work with earns more than you, cry me a river...
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    "Pay secrecy fosters discrimination and we shouldn't tolerate it." [money.cnn.com]
    Like (198)
    Follow
    Share
    "I respect women, I love women, I cherish women... I will take care of women, and I have great respect for women." [huffingtonpost.com]
    Like (105)
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    Share
    Employees should have the benefit to understand how their salary is being calculated to make sure that their gender doesn't play a role in the slight lower salary than a male. Employees shouldn't be punished.
    Like (53)
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    It's a cold day when employees can not discuss wages and benefits. If companies are afraid of employees discussing wages and benefits, then they must not be paying their employees a fair wage or ample benefits. Employees should not be punished for managements mistakes.
    Like (43)
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    Most private sector workers, many unknowingly, have had the right to discuss their own pay since the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, also known as the Wagner Act. Being able to discuss what you are paid with other employees is a form of protected speech & prohibiting this speech (commonly referred to as pay secrecy) is illegal - even if you sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or it is "disallowed" or punishable by employee manual - and this has been upheld in/by multiple court cases. Now, this doesn't allow HR personnel, supervisors or anyone who has access to other employees' pay, to discuss other peoples' pay with other people. However, if you are talking about your own pay, with people in similar positions to your own, for comparison purposes (ideally) to prevent pay inequality or for reasons of collective bargaining, you're allowed & it's protected; if you're just whining about your pay, you're not protected. Unfortunately, these rights & protections don't extend to (any) government employees, most (independent) contractors & a few others and, as they stand, businesses routinely violate these rights because penalties are almost non-existent. Hopefully, everyone will educate themselves (further) about this issue; our government will expand these protections to all workers & penalties will be stiffened/strengthened so pay discrimination & pay inequality will be a thing of the past. (Note: This is not legal advise nor should be taken as such.)
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    We live in an open economy, and our right to speak about economic conditions should reflect this.
    Like (15)
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    If this were approved it may help many of my fellow citizens. The hidden trouble here is just like in the unions. It takes away the incentive to excel. Creates an "All people doing my job should be paid the same" wage sort of attitude. I don't believe that should be approved. Anything that improves competition makes human beings Excel.
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    This shouldn't be an issue. If people were paid fairly then why must it be kept so secretive. And how would it be used against a company by competitors? The only thing it would do is make a more competitive environment. When is that ever a bad thing? Competition leads to better results.
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    The wage gap isn't real. There is nothing to discuss. No need to. People need to realize there is no gender discrimination for work. Besides if woman made .77 to the man's dollar, then why even hire men??
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    No! Compensation is based on many factors. Will cause nothing more but disgruntled employees
    Like (9)
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    “Some people will say this is hard to do. And it will be. But leadership is about forging public consensus -- not following it. On this issue, we must lead with our progressive values to rebuild the American Dream.” [www.huffingtonpost.com]
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    This is none of the employers' business and has nothing to do with the work they were hired to do.
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    Vote with your feet. If employers reject your offer, find another job because your demands will be replaced with robots.
    Like (4)
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    The opposite of fairness will likely occur if this bill is passed. Instead of employers rewarding well skilled and motivated employees by increasing their compensation, they will fear the consequences of other, less skilled or less motivated employees complaining and the potential lawsuits. All this will do is decrease the motivation of our top performers. Just like giving all students "A"'s in class regardless of effort. I also don't understand why a company and an employee can't agree to contract on terms and have those terms upheld. Such as keeping compensation confidential. If the employee doesn't want to, they don't have to remain employed. They can go somewhere else, or start their own business!
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    Yes an employer should post wages on a white board. Entry level $$, tier1 $$, tier 2 $$ and so on. As an employee you strive to get to the next level. I can tell you there's a lot of jealousy and suspicion about wages and it causes lots of problems . Isn't the military like that? Structured. Private, Corporal, first class , second class. I see no problem with this one.
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    Your pay is a negotiation not a right. Your employer doesn't OWE you a wage, you both enter into a "contract" for employment. The better worker/negotiator will get the better wage. This question is never raised male-to-male. Often in the professional world, male workers are paid less than their co-workers, yet no complaints.
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    Businesses should be able to choose wages, it's one of their rights as a business. Because of that, this is a decision for the business itself to make, not the federal government.
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    Discussing compensation, besides being a First Amendment right, is a good thing for employees. Keeping compensation details to ourselves prevents us from realizing our true value to our companies and industries, causing undue stress in the best case and unfair compensation in the worst.
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