A much-needed updated of the 47-year-old Equal Pay Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3220) is a comprehensive bill that would create stronger incentives for employers to follow the law, empower women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthen federal outreach, education and enforcement efforts. Championed by longtime AAUW friend, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the bill would also deter wage discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and by prohibiting retaliation against workers who ask about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages. Together with the Ledbetter bill, this critical piece of legislation can help create a climate where pay discrimination is not tolerated, and give the new administration the enforcement tools it needs to make real progress on pay equity.
With a record number of women in the workforce, wage discrimination hurts the majority of American families, both in terms of their economic security today and their retirement security tomorrow. Due to rising employment rates, an unprecedented number of women are now the family breadwinner - making pay equity even more critical, not simply to family economic security, but also to the nation's economic recovery.