Senator Jay Rockefeller today announced that he voted for legislation that would make sure that women receive equal pay in the work place. The bill did not pass.
"Right now West Virginia women earn 70 cents for every dollar paid to men -- that's absolutely unacceptable," said Rockefeller. "By short changing women, some employers are also short-changing families that could use a full salary to buy groceries or help their children get medical care. It's a family issue, and we need to treat it that way. As we approach the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, we need to close loopholes that still allow discrimination to exist. I will keep fighting to pass this important bill."
This pay disparity not only affects families' budgets, but it also penalizes them by undermining their retirement security through reduced Social Security and pension benefits. In West Virginia, women make up 46 percent of the state workforce.
The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy on June 10, 1963. That law prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex in the payment of wages and benefits when men and women perform similar work. The Paycheck Fairness Act updates this law and closes loopholes by allowing women to recover punitive damages in egregious discrimination cases; requiring employers to show a work-related justification for paying men and women unequal wages; and prohibiting retaliation against employees who discuss their salaries with other employees.