On Equal Pay Day, Rep. Baca Calls for Continued Efforts to Close Wage Gap Between Women and Men
Today, on Equal Pay Day, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) re-stated his belief that ensuring there is truly equal pay for equal work in this country must be a top priority.
"Forty-five years have passed since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law in 1963," commented Rep. Baca. "And yet, in too many cases, there is still not equal pay for equal work in this country."
In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was signed, women who worked full-time, year-round made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. In 2006, women earned 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. That is progress - but it is slow progress. It means that the wage gap has narrowed by less than half a cent per year.
This week, the Democratic majority in Congress will mark Equal Pay Day with the Senate attempting to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and send it directly to the President's desk. The House of Representatives passed this bill last July. This legislation restores critical protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. It rectifies a May 2007 Supreme Court decision that overturned longstanding precedent and made it much more difficult for workers to pursue pay discrimination claims.
"Equal pay is not just a women's issue, it's an American issue," said Rep. Baca. "I was proud to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act this past July, and I am hopeful my Senate colleagues will pass this vital legislation so the President can sign it into law. Closing the wage gap in America is essential to strengthening our values of family, equality, and opportunity."
In addition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Democratic Congress has also introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R. 1338, to take important steps in ending gender-based wage discrimination. The bill strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to provide more effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work. It would also give the Department of Labor the opportunity to enhance outreach and training programs to work with employers to eliminate pay disparities and would provide awards for employers that make strides in eliminating pay disparities.
"I am proud to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act," said Rep. Baca. "Ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work is a common-sense issue. All Americans deserve fair treatment and equal opportunity to gain the resources they need to ensure their children have access to a better future."
Equal Pay Day is observed in April to indicate how far into each year a woman must work to earn as much as a man earned in the previous year. More information and statistics on pay discrepancies can be found at the National Committee on Pay Equity's website at http://www.pay-equity.org.