Summary: Pay discrimination is prohibited by federal law and has been for over 50 years under the Equal Pay Act and Civil Rights Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act seeks to create new federal mandates on employers and employees in a misguided effort to further prohibit pay discrimination.
The bill would hinder an employee’s ability to negotiate for higher pay or advancement and increase legal liability for employers to justify their hiring decisions and any pay disparity. It would impose new reporting requirements for an employer’s compensation and employment data according to sex, race, and national origin or employees, which would be particularly burdensome on small businesses without human resources or compliance departments.
Further, the legislation could spur a wave of new frivolous litigation. Employees could be entered into class action lawsuits seeking unlimited damages under the Equal Pay Act with an option for an employee to opt out, rather than opt in.
Bill Status: Paycheck Fairness Act was reintroduced in the House on January 28, 2021, after being approved by the House in the 116th Congress on a vote of 242-187. It has never been approved by the Senate, having failed cloture votes in the 113th, 112th, and 111th Congresses.
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BACKGROUNDER: “The Pay Equity Debate”
Independent Women’s Voice
OP-ED: “Here’s what the Paycheck Fairness Act is really about — it’s not equal pay for equal work”
The Hill, March 27, 2019
Rachel Greszler, Heritage Foundation
BACKGROUNDER: “The Gender Pay Gap: Choice, Children, and Public Policy”
March 23, 2021
Heritage Foundation, Rachel Greszler
LETTER: U.S. Chamber Letter Opposing H.R. 7, the “Paycheck Fairness Act”
March 26, 2019
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Pay Gap Myths Spread Around Equal Pay Day
April 14, 2016
Hans Bader, Competitive Enterprise Institute
BLOG: The Paycheck Fairness Act Is Not Working for Women
March 27, 2019
Committee on Education and Labor Republicans