Spanberger Helps Reintroduce Paycheck Fairness Act, Urges Congress to Close Wage Gap & Support Working Families
In 2017, Virginia Women Earned Just 78% of What Men Earned for the Same Amount of Work
Washington, January 30, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today helped introduce legislation to help close the wage gap between men and women in Central Virginia and across the country.
In the Commonwealth, women with full-time jobs are paid an average of $42,342 annually compared to $54,392 for men. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, this pay disparity means Virginia women are paid 78 cents for every dollar paid to men for the same amount of work.
The Spanberger-backed Paycheck Fairness Act would take steps to update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The bill would help close the existing pay gap by empowering women to negotiate for equal pay, prevent employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their wages, and prohibit employers from relying on salary history to set wages. Additionally, the legislation would close loopholes that have allowed employers to pay women unfairly.
“The issue of equal pay for equal work is fundamentally an issue of supporting American families, and it should never be a partisan issue. By short-changing working women, some employers are preventing families from receiving a full salary—which could be used to feed their family, get their kids lifesaving medical care, or pay the rent or mortgage,” said Spanberger. “The Paycheck Fairness Act is much-needed legislation, and I’m proud to help reintroduce this bill in the new Congress. The gender pay gap can only be rightfully addressed if women are empowered to negotiate for equal pay, and our bill gives working women the tools they need to push back against systemic wage discrimination. The economic strength of the next generation of women, children, and working families relies on the ability of women to receive what they’ve earned, and I’ll keep fighting to advance our legislation.”
To help address widespread pay discrimination, Paycheck Fairness Act would:
Pay discrimination in the workplace impacts women, children, and working families across the United States. More than five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a woman still makes only 80 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by a man. That gap is even wider for women of color. Compared to white men, African American women are paid 61 cents, Latina women are paid 53 cents, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women are paid 62 cents. For a woman working full time year-round, the current wage gap represents a loss of more than $400,000 over the course of her career. The wage gap impacts women’s ability to save for retirement and reduces their total Social Security and pension benefits, contributing to more older women living in poverty.
Yesterday, Spanberger marked the 10th anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—which helped pave the path to sue employers for pay discrimination—by speaking at a press conference in support of new legislation to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.