Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are reintroducing legislation in both chambers of Congress that would amend the Equal Pay Act, aiming to address the pay gap between men and women.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would:
- Create a training program to help women strengthen their negotiation skills
- Enhance enforcement of equal pay laws
- Require the Department of Labor to work with employers to eliminate pay disparities by enhancing outreach and training efforts
- Prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers
- Allow women to sue for punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages now available under the Equal Pay Act.
In announcing that they would reintroduce the legislation, Clinton and DeLauro noted that women working full time, year-round still make only 77 cents for every dollar made by a man.
"Evening the playing field for women workers is a matter of fairness, and with women now providing a significant share of their family's income, it is a family issue," says DeLauro. "It is hard to believe that it has been almost a decade since I first introduced the Paycheck Fairness bill and the time has come for Congress to strengthen America 's equal pay laws and correct practices that undervalue women and minority women workers."
The legislation never made it to a vote on the floor of either chamber the last time it was introduced. With Democrats now holding a majority in both chambers, the legislation may have a better chance of making it to President Bush's desk.