Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) marked the 45th anniversary of President John Kennedy signing the Equal Pay Act into law and restated his strong support for additional legislation to end the gender-based wage gap in America.
The Equal Pay Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees less than the rate to employees of the opposite sex. When President Kennedy originally signed the legislation in 1963, women earned 59 cents for each dollar earned by a man. Over the last four and a half decades, the wage gap between men and women has narrowed, but working women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.
"The wage gap is one of the most pressing issues facing families, the economy and women workers in America," said Rep. Baca. "Sadly, unfair pay affects women in far too many workplaces. It's a significant problem that impacts women regardless of education, occupation, race or age."
"Although there has been progress on closing the wage gap between men and women, it has been too slow," continued Rep. Baca. "At the current rate, it would take about another 50 years before men and women reach parity in pay in this country. Hard-working American women and their families cannot afford to wait that long. That is why I am proud to cosponsor H.R. 1338, the Paycheck Fairness Act."
The Paycheck Fairness Act builds on the progress of the Equal Pay Act and helps move America closer to ending the gap in the earnings of men and women. It strengthens the Equal Pay Act by providing more effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages. The bill would also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers.
"Gender based discrepancies in wages is not just a women's issue - it's a family issue," concluded Rep. Baca. "Working women and their families deserve equal pay for equal work. On this important anniversary, I urge my colleagues in the House to join me in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act."
Rep. Baca has served as a strong supporter of gender equality issues since first coming to Congress in 1999. This Congress, his legislation to award women's suffragist Alice Paul the Congressional Gold Medal passed the House of Representatives with near unanimous, bipartisan support from his colleagues. The legislation was cosponsored by 406 Members of Congress.