What You Should Know About the Paycheck Fairness Act

Paycheck Fairness Act BeLatina Latinx
Photo: The Hill.

In the United States, the pay gap, especially between the genders, continues to put obstacles in the path to success for millions of people.

Women working full-time, for example, earn only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. The numbers are even worse for women of color. African-American women earned only about 64 cents and Latinas only 56 cents for every dollar earned by a white man.

If passed, the Paycheck Fairness Act would help ensure equal pay for equal work for all Americans, regardless of gender or color.

As explained by the ACLU, the bill would update the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a law that has failed to deliver on its promise to close the wage gap due to limited enforcement tools and inadequate remedies.

The law would introduce fundamental changes, such as requiring employers to prove that wage differences are based on factors other than sex.

It would also prohibit reprisals against workers who inquire about their employers’ pay practices or disclose their own wages.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would also allow reasonable comparisons among employees within clearly defined geographic areas, strengthen penalties for pay equity violations, and direct the Department of Labor to collect wage-related data.

This legal move would be critical for the Biden-Harris administration, who made the fight for equal pay a central bullet point in their campaign for the presidency.

While it is unknown which of these changes will take hold or what impact they will have on states like New York that already maintain strict equal pay laws, the changes will almost certainly provide information and incentives for employees to file more wage discrimination claims against employers, the New York Labor & Employment Law Report explained.

After hurdles in Congress, a substitute Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced late last month and is currently on the Senate calendar for consideration.