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Paycheck Fairness Act

Senate Movement on Paycheck Fairness is a Step in the Right Direction

Bad news, everybody. Yesterday, a measure to hold an up-or-down vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) fell just a few votes short in the Senate.

But there is a silver lining. Yesterday’s vote comes less than a week after the Senate, for the first time ever, voted—73 to 25—to debate the PFA. But by blocking an up-or-down vote on the measure, some members of the Senate sent the signal loud and clear that they are still not ready to get serious about equal pay. Read more »

One Step Closer to Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act

Today the Senate, by a vote of 73-25, agreed to move on to a full debate of the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA). But we’re not at the finish line just yet—in fact, we’re far from it. There will be another procedural vote before the Senate finally gets to the point and hopefully passes PFA.

Passing PFA would make a big difference for working women. Here’s how: Read more »

Put Your Wage Gap IQ to the Test!

There will likely be a vote in the Senate later this week on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Want to make sure you know what's at stake for women and families? Take this little quiz. Read more »

Proposed Department of Labor Rule Will Shed Light on Federal Contractor Pay Practices, Help to Uncover Discrimination

It is a very simple principle — you can’t fix a problem that you don’t know about.

With that in mind, yesterday the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs — the agency charged with enforcing laws that prohibit discrimination by companies that contract with the federal government — announced a proposal for a new rule that will require certain contractors to report on how they pay their workers.

The annual Equal Pay Report that contractors will have to submit if this new rule is adopted will include information about employee compensation and the demographics of the company’s workforce. Having such data will help OFCCP to root out pay discrimination against women and minorities more effectively. The collection and reporting of this data to the government will also give contractors strong incentives to proactively monitor their own pay practices and to eliminate any unjustified pay disparities. Read more »

201 Days Till Equal Pay: The Wage Gap for African American Women

This year the nation marked Equal Pay Day (the symbolic day when women’s earnings finally catch up to men’s earnings from the previous year) on April 8th. I was lucky enough to be able to “celebrate” by standing with President Obama at the White House as he signed two critical executive actions to address the problem of unequal pay in the federal contractor workforce.

Yes, that’s right — women overall have to work three months into the new year before their wages catch up to men’s. Even worse, when you look at the data by race and gender together it is clear that it takes even longer for women of color to catch up. That’s because the wage gaps experienced by women of color are substantially larger than for women overall. Women overall typically make only 77 percent of what men make for full time, year round work — but, for example, for African American women and Hispanic women compared to white, non-Hispanic men this figure is 64 cents and 54 cents, respectively.

Which brings us to late July — the time when we will finally reach Equal Pay Day for African American women. Read more »

Granite Staters: Take Action Now for Paycheck Fairness

On Wednesday the New Hampshire House of Representatives is expected to vote on S.B. 207, New Hampshire’s Paycheck Fairness Act. This session S.B. 207 has garnered the unanimous support of the New Hampshire state Senate, and recently passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. The bill includes a number of important provisions to strengthen equal pay protections in the state.

But now your help is needed to stop a bad amendment to this bill. Read more »

How a Bill Doesn't Become a Law — Schoolhouse Rock Revisited

A few years ago I was teaching 4th grade Social Studies. About a week into the government unit I did what any self-respecting Social Studies teacher would do – show “I’m Just a Bill,” the 1975 Schoolhouse Rock classic tale of how a bill becomes a law.

The video tells the tale of a “sad little scrap of paper” – Bill – making the arduous journey to becoming a law. The journey is long, but simple. Some folks shared an idea for a new law with their Congressman, he agreed and introduced Bill who gets stuck in committee for a bit (at this point Bill frets that he might die!), Bill passes the House and then the Senate, narrowly escapes a veto, and is finally signed into law by the President!

But lately it feels like I was teaching my students the wrong thing. I mean that’s ‘technically’ the way a bill becomes a law (and all a ten-year-old really needs to understand) but there are so many additional roadblocks to quality legislation. Read more »

Women in Low-Wage Jobs Deserve Equal Pay for Equal Work

It should be startling that even in the ten largest jobs that pay very low wages –$10.10 an hour or less – women still see a 10 cent gender wage gap on the dollar.* And this is despite the fact that women make up more than three-quarters of the workers in these jobs.

Across the income spectrum, the wage gap hurts women and families. But women in low-wage jobs can least afford it. They are already making do with less. They shouldn’t have to make do with pay discrimination too.

Mothers with children under 18 make up nearly one-quarter of these workers, although they make up just over 16 percent of workers overall.  In 2011, 40 percent of households with children under 18 had a mother as the primary breadwinner—and two-thirds of those households were led by single mothers with a median family income of just $23,000.  These hardworking breadwinner moms and their families deserve equal pay for equal work. Read more »

Welcome to the Wage Gap Cafe

On average, women make 77 cents for every dollar that men make. That amounts to $11,000 per year in lost wages  – no small chunk of change.  For many women, this means sometimes having to choose between buying enough groceries and going to the doctor or between paying this month's rent and that college loan. Some have a harder time getting the picture, so I’m going break it down for those of you who can’t quite visualize the difference 23 cents makes.

What if you went into a restaurant and someone took a few bites out of whatever deliciousness you ordered – and they ate about 23% of it. You would get pretty mad, right?

Imagine if someone just took a chunk out of your…

Pizza: Oh, I’m sorry – I didn’t see your female parts there. This is the “woman sized” slice of pizza. After all – you don’t need a whole slice, do you? That would just be greedy. Read more »

The Fair Minimum Wage Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act - Perfect Together

You know what I love?  When two things go together perfectly.  Cake and ice cream.  Wine and cheese.  Chocolate and…well, OK, chocolate pretty much goes perfectly with everything.

Two bills that are expected to see some action in Congress this month, The Fair Minimum Wage Act and Paycheck Fairness go together perfectly, too.  That’s because they’re both critical issues for women – and both will help women achieve fair pay.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, increase the tipped minimum cash wage from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and index these wages to keep pace with inflation. Raising the minimum wage would help women achieve fair pay: Read more »