Rep. Sewell Applauds Passage of Equal Pay Legislation
Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Rep Terri Sewell (AL-07) voted to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, landmark legislation to close loopholes and strengthen the 1963 Equal Pay Act, including providing effective remedies for women who are not being paid equally for equal work.
“Today I proudly voted to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act because women deserve the same respect and the same pay for the same work,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “In Alabama, full-time working women still earn just 74 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns. This gap not only hurts women in our workforce, but threatens our state's economic growth. America succeeds when women succeed, and it is my hope the Senate will pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure women receive equal pay for an equal day’s work.”
Background on the Paycheck Fairness Act:
Throughout the United States, 58 years after the enactment of the Equal Pay Act, full-time working women still earn just 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, amounting to a yearly gap of $10,157 between full-time working men and women. In Alabama, the wage gap is even larger – 74 cents on the dollar, amounting to an annual gap of $12,857. The numbers are even more concerning for minority women: Black women are paid 59 cents, Hispanic women are paid 49 cents and Asian women are paid 81 cents for every dollar paid to white men in Alabama.
Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act:
- Requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons. In doing so, it ensures that employers who try to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must show the disparity is not sex-based, but job-related and necessary.
- Bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages.
- Ensures women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to discrimination based on race and national origin.
- Removes obstacles in the Equal Pay Act to facilitate a wronged worker’s participation in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination.
- Makes improvements in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) and the Department of Labor’s tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act.
- Provides assistance to all businesses to help them with their equal pay practices, recognizes excellence in pay practices by businesses, and empowers women and girls by creating a negotiation skills training program.
- Prohibits employers from seeking salary history in determining future pay, so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job.