WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which bill would strengthen the 1963 Equal Pay Act and give more tools to fight sex-based pay discrimination. The bill also includes an amendment offered by Congresswoman Williams reestablishing the Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, which previously existed during the Obama-Biden Administration, to ensure federal agencies work together to limit any potential gaps in enforcement of equal pay laws.
“The American people look to Congress to be a force for economic justice and create policies that are fair and just. It is simply wrong that in the 21st century, women still face pay inequity,” said Congresswoman Williams.
“Equal pay is not simply a women’s issue; it’s a family issue. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on women, who have lost a million more jobs than men, creating even greater urgency for this legislation to become law.
“That is why I was proud to vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act. This legislation would bring the country one step closer to ensuring women are finally getting the pay they deserve.”
The latest data show that nationwide, full-time working women earn on average only 82 cents for every dollar a man earns. This amounts to a yearly gender gap of $10,157 between full-time working men and women. Women of color face the largest wage gap. On average, Black women earn 63 cents, Native American women 60 cents, and Latinas just 55 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns.
The bill bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages, provides effective remedies for women who are not being paid equally for equal work, and requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons.