Congresswoman Nikema Williams and Senator Jon Ossoff Introduce the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

Aug 03, 2021

Jon Ossoff and Nikema

WASHINGTON – Today, on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, Congresswoman Nikema Williams led 31 members of the House in introducing the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which will reestablish the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.

On average, full-time working women need to work well into the next year to catch up to the salary their male counterparts earned the previous year. For Black women, on average, it has taken until today, August 3rd, to make the same salary as their white male counterparts did in 2020.

“Eight months after 2020 concluded, Black women, on average, are just now catching up to make the salary their male counterparts earned last year alone,” said Congresswoman Williams. “It is simply wrong that in the 21st Century, women still face pay inequity. On this day – Black Women’s Equal Pay Day – we have to rededicate ourselves to ensuring equal pay for equal work. This legislation will bring us a step forward, ensuring the equal pay laws on the books are well enforced.”

“Pay discrimination has been illegal since 1963, yet women are still not paid equally for equal work — and this discrimination especially targets Black women,”  said Sen. Ossoff.  “I thank Congresswoman Williams for her continued leadership to crack down on pay discrimination that hurts women in Georgia and across the country.”

“Throughout the pandemic, women have been on the front lines in our homes, our schools, and our hospitals, turning the wheels of our society and economy to care for American families,” said Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “Black women who make up a large percentage of the care workers doing this critical work are facing a dual crisis — not only do they make significantly less than male counterparts for the same jobs, they are also fighting for living wages and basic work protections not provided to domestic workers historically. The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act will provide a foundation that reestablishes a system of accountability and enforces equal pay laws — laws we need to ensure Black women can care for their families, build generational wealth, and participate in the economy they built. As an organization working on behalf women of color and domestic workers in America, we strive to always advocate for fairness in the workplace and we support Representative Williams’ bill which will move us a step closer to closing the wage gap.”

The National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, which previously existed during the Obama-Biden Administration, will bring together the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Management and Budget to work together to limit any potential gaps in enforcement of equal pay laws.

By ensuring better equal pay enforcement, this legislation will combat the pay gap that Black women face. Black women, on average, currently make $0.63 for every $1 made by a white male. The disparity is even more stark for Black mothers, who make $0.52 for every dollar made by white fathers. 

Original cosponsors of the bill include Bobby L. Rush, Danny K. Davis, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Madeleine Dean, Mark Takano, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., André Carson, Brian Higgins, Thomas R. Suozzi, Karen Bass, Al Green, John B. Larson, Alma S. Adams, PhD, Suzan DelBene, Dwight Evans, Carolyn B. Maloney, Rashida Tlaib, Earl Blumenauer, Jamaal Bowman, Jan Schakowsky, Tony Cárdenas, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Ritchie Torres, Ilhan Omar, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Barbara Lee, Steve Cohen, Robin L. Kelly, Marie Newman, Marilyn Strickland, and James P. McGovern.

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