Rush Votes to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

Mar 27, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) voted to pass H.R. 7, the landmark Paycheck Fairness Act, to take a dramatic step forward to ensure that America’s women receive equal pay for equal work.  This legislation strengthens and closes loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act to secure justice for working women in Illinois and across the country by providing them effective remedies for unfair and inequitable pay practices.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act — a bill to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work.  Today’s passage comes ten years after a Democratic-led Congress enacted the historic Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and one week before Equal Pay Day,” said Rush.  “In 2019, a woman still makes, on average, 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man.  We must do everything we can to end gender-based wage discrimination because when women bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families — groceries, rent, child care, and doctors’ visits.  It also means they have far less savings for retirement.”

Today’s wage gap robs women who work full-time, year-round of over $400,000 over the course of their working lives.  The wage gap is even larger for women of color with African-American women on average earning only 61 cents, Latinas on average earning only 53 cents, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women earning only 62 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

To close the wage gap and address loopholes and weak enforcement mechanisms in existing law, the Paycheck Fairness Act updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by:

  • Requiring employers to prove and justify that pay disparities are legitimate and are not sex-based;
  • Banning retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages;
  • Ensuring women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to discrimination based on race and ethnicity;
  • Providing assistance to all businesses to help them with their equal pay practices, recognizing excellence in pay practices by businesses and empowering women and girls by creating a negotiation skills training program; and
  • Prohibiting employers from relying on salary history in determining future pay, so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job.

“Two-thirds of women are either the primary breadwinner or a co-breadwinner in the household, so their earnings are vital to their families.  I am delighted that we were able to pass this transformative legislation during Women’s History Month and are able to continue work towards securing economic justice for women, advancing progress for families, and unlocking the full potential of women in the workforce,” said Rush.