As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing the Equal Pay Act into law on June 10, 1963, Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20) called for enactment of H.R. 377, the Paycheck Fairness Act. Although the Equal Pay Act made strides in narrowing the wage gap, the legislation has not been updated in 50 years and women continue to make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes nationwide.
"The existing pay gap between men and women highlights the importance of strengthening the Equal Pay Act, which has not been updated in the half-century since its enactment into law," said Tonko. "I am a proud cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, and it is my hope that we can work together on this important issue and strengthen families for our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters."
The Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens and closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act by providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work and protecting employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with their co-workers.
In New York's 20th Congressional District, the pay gap has narrowed to women earning 87 cents for every dollar a man makes. Statewide, a woman makes 83.6 cents on average for every dollar a man makes. In the same comparison, African American women make 66.5 cents, and Hispanic women make 54.1 cents. More information is available from the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
Equal pay is not only a woman's issue, but a family issue as well. Families continue to rely on women's wages to make ends meet and to satisfy family needs like groceries, rent, child care, and doctor visits.
"In order to build upon the recent progress for women's rights introduced by Governor Cuomo at the state level, Congress should swiftly pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, ensuring that we are doing all we can on both a state and national level to see that women receive equal pay for equal work," added Tonko.