With the Senate soon to begin debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis gave her thoughts on this legislation on a U.S. Department of Labor webinar on September 21, along with pay equity activist Lilly Ledbetter.
Secretary Solis opened the webinar, “Equal Pay for Working Families,” by stating that DOL is working hard to restore wages after the recession, but cannot accomplish this if wage discrimination still exists.
Solis encouraged employers to support of the Act, explaining that they should not have more recordkeeping under this Act, and that fear of retaliation and resentment over inequity, which the Act addresses, adversely affects productivity.
She stated that her Department is committed to restoring programs that foster “fair and equitable” pay, especially for women. However, she said that DOL needs to increase data collection on compensation to determine where pay discrimination exists. “The federal government hasn’t done an adequate job in collecting data,” she said, adding that she is asking the DOL Women’s Bureau to assist with research and data collection.
She also is asking the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, better known as OFCCP, to better monitor federal contractors for pay abuse.
Solis also said that pay discrimination often is the result of lack of opportunities for advancement, often because women are not evaluating other women for promotion.
She said DOL is working with the White House Council on Women and Girls on this issue, as well as educating women and other “vulnerable populations” on their rights in the workplace. “The Paycheck Fairness Act will help workers at all levels,” she stated.
‘Wage Discrimination Touches Everyone,’ Says Lilly Ledbetter