Congressman Higgins Announces House Passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced passage of H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, by a vote of 242-187 in the House of Representatives. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Rep. Higgins is one of its 239 cosponsors. H.R. 7 builds on the progress made and closes loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require that men and women be given equal pay for equal work.
The Paycheck Fairness Act will ban retaliation against workers who discuss or disclose their wages, and expand protections, currently in place for race and ethnicity pay discrimination, to also include gender discrimination. Additionally, H.R. 7 has provisions restricting employers from using salary history to determine future pay, and provides help for businesses working to comply with equal pay laws.
The timing of the bill’s passage coincides with Equal Pay Day, which takes place on Tuesday, April 2nd. Today on average women nationwide still make just 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, therefore it takes until April for a woman’s earnings to close the pay gap on the salary earned by their male counterparts in the previous year.
Congressman Higgins said: “The Paycheck Fairness Act represents an important and long overdue step in continuing to work towards the goal of ending gender-based wage discrimination by strengthening existing remedies and adding new ones. I’m proud to cosponsor this bill that continues the fight toward the goal of fully achieving equal pay for equal work.”
Higgins has been a strong supporter of similar Paycheck Fairness legislation in previous Congresses, and supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed into law in 2009.
H.R. 7 is supported by more than 300 organizations nationwide, including the National Organization for Women, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, AFL-CIO, SEIU, and many more.