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Equal Pay

A Problem and a Step Towards a Solution: Mothers and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Today is a big day.  

Today is Equal Pay Day for mothers who work outside of the home—while women typically earn 78 cents to every dollar earned by men for full-time, year-round work, these women earn just 70 cents to every dollar earned by fathers who work outside of the home. This means that for mothers who work outside of the home, today marks the day that their salaries finally catch up to equal pay for the previous year.

Today Congress has also reintroduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, or PWFA, to ensure that pregnant workers with medical needs receive reasonable accommodations at work that keep them on the job and earning a paycheck. While most women can work safely throughout their pregnancies without needing any job modifications, some women find that at some point during pregnancy particular job activities—such as lifting, bending, or standing for long periods—may begin to pose a challenge. Many of these women could continue to work without risk to themselves or their pregnancies with slight job modifications. Unfortunately, too many women are pushed out of their jobs—losing not only valuable paychecks but often benefits and insurance coverage—simply for being pregnant. The PWFA—introduced with bipartisan support—adopts language from the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that no pregnant worker will have to choose between the health and safety of her pregnancy and her paycheck. Read more »

Oregon Bans Retaliation for Pay Discussion and Disclosures

Last week Oregon took an important step towards closing the wage gap for the women in its state. With the strong advocacy of Family Forward Oregon, the legislature passed HB 2007, a bill that prohibits employers from retaliating or discriminating against employees who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their pay. Once the Governor signs the bill into law, Oregon will become the 11th state to explicitly provide these protections to workers.

What does this anti-retaliation law have to do with the wage gap? The story of Lilly Ledbetter illustrates the problem of pay secrecy. She worked for Goodyear Tire plant for nearly 20 years and only discovered that she was being paid significantly less than lower-ranked male colleagues thanks to an anonymous note from someone in HR. She could not have discovered the discrepancy on her own if she had thought to check—her employer banned employees for discussing pay. Read more »

Mothers Make Less Than Fathers in Every State

Tomorrow, June 4th, is mothers’ equal pay day—the day that marks how long into the year mothers who work full time, year round have to wait before their typical annual earnings equal what fathers made in just one year. Read more »

Proposed Regulation Tells Federal Contractors: Play by the Rules

Yesterday the Obama administration released a proposed rule to implement the Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which was signed by President Obama in 2014. The proposed rule is the first step toward making good on the executive order’s message to private contractors: if you have the honor of doing business with the federal government, you must follow the law.

This proposed rule outlines steps the Administration will take to ensure that federal contractors that violate our nation’s labor and employment laws start playing by the rules again. In an effort to protect the millions of workers employed by private companies who have been awarded government contracts, the executive order required federal contractors to report their labor and employment law violations. Read more »

Who Supports Equal Pay? The Pope

You know what polls really well with just about everyone? Equal Pay. So it’s not a surprise that the Pope is the latest public figure to weigh in.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis voiced his support for equal pay in his weekly remarks at the Vatican. Pope Francis asked Catholics to consider “the Christian seed of radical equality between men and women.” He said Christians should “become more demanding” for that “radical equality” by “supporting the right of equal pay for equal work.” Read more »

A Lot Has Changed Since 1970, But Not As Much As You’d Think—Particularly for Federal Contractors

A lot has changed since 1970. For example, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” was a billboard topper, and Jackson 5’s “ABC” was hitting fresh ears, not yet to be played and replayed at every bar- and bat-mitzvah party across the country. The “Ed Sullivan Show” was prime time television, and PBS first turned on its lights.

Of course, the workplace was a very different place in 1970 as well. Women in 1970 made up only about 38 percent of the workforce—representing about 30 million workers. Today, those numbers are dramatically higher; with nearly 73 million working women, women today make up nearly half—47 percent—of the workforce.  And whereas less than 50 percent of first-time mothers worked while pregnant in 1970, nearly two-thirds of first-time mothers work while pregnant today. Although women in 1970 were just beginning to get their foothold in 1970—and were earning just 59 cents to every dollar earned by a man—today, women’s income is critical to their families. Working women are primary breadwinners in more than 41 percent of families and they are co-breadwinners—bringing in between 25 to 50 percent of family earnings—in another 23 percent of these families. Read more »

New Issue Brief Highlights Wage Gap for Marylanders

Today I met Lily. No, not Lilly Ledbetter — four-month old Lily whose mom, Sara Wilkinson, President of Maryland NOW, spoke at an (un)Equal Pay Day event in Baltimore.

At the current rate of progress, the Institute for Women's Policy Research projects that Lily and other baby girls born in Maryland this year will face a wage gap until they are 27. And, in case you wondered, Lily’s mom says that is absolutely not ok. Read more »

Hostile to Women, Hostile to Abortion: the Wage Gap and Abortion Restrictions

Today is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic date when the wages of women who work full time all year finally catch up to men’s wages. It’s a day to reflect on polices both good and bad that affect economic justice. At the National Women’s Law Center, we work on a range of issues that affect the economic stability of women and their families, including both equal pay and access to reproductive health care. So we thought it was appropriate to look at the overlap between equal pay and access to abortion. Here’s what we found: Read more »

We Can't Wait Until Beyonce is Almost 80 for the Wage Gap to Close

Originally posted on Higher Heights for America's website.

It’s Equal Pay Day, April 14th. Equal Pay Day is the symbolic date that marks the time in the year when the wages of women who work full time, year round finally catch up to the wages of men. The date is pegged to the overall wage gap for women—when the wages for all men and women are compared, women make just 78 cents on the dollar.

That overall statistic masks even larger disparities for women of color. African American women are paid a whopping 64 percent of the salaries paid to their white, male counterparts. This pay gap, which amounts to a loss of $18,650 a year, means that African American women have to work nearly 19 more months—almost until the end of July—just to make as much as white, non-Hispanic men did in the previous year alone. 

Here are five more facts about the wage gap that are equally stunning: Read more »

Five Pictures For Equal Pay Day

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how much is that in dollars? Today is Equal Pay Day, which marks the fact that it takes women more than 15 months to earn what men make in just one year.  To “celebrate” we thought we’d share with you 5 pictures that highlight the importance of achieving equal pay for women. Read more »