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Bills to close pay gap introduced in Congress

Illustration of gender pay gap


Three bills intended to help close the pay gap for women and minorities have been introduced in Congress.

The measures were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who was also the first woman to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Here is some information on the bills:

  • The Pay Equity for All Act would bar employers from asking job applicants for their salary history before making a job or salary offer. The goal of the measure is to stop the potential discriminatory effect of companies being informed of the pay history of workers in disadvantaged groups and having that inadvertently work against them.
  • The Fair Pay Act would require that men and women doing comparable work be paid comparable wages. The measure builds on the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by allowing women to show that some or all of a pay disparity is based on gender-segregated comparable jobs. For example, if a woman is employed as an emergency services operator, which is a female-dominated profession, she should not be paid less than a fire dispatcher, which is a male-dominated profession, just because these jobs have been historically dominated by one gender.
  • The Salary Transparency Act would require employers to provide the salary range for jobs in advertisements and interviews and to existing employees. This bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the bill, the salary range provided would have to include wages and other forms of compensation the employer plans to offer. The proposal includes a private right of action, as well as civil penalties that begin at $5,000 for a first violation. The penalty would increase by an additional $1,000 for each subsequent violation, not to exceed $10,000, and include liability to each job applicant for damages and reasonable attorney fees.

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