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Congresswoman Escobar Votes to Secure Equal Pay for El Paso Women, Help Close Gender Wage Gap

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) voted to pass H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, landmark legislation that will help close the gender wage gap by strengthening equal pay protections for women in El Paso and across the country.

The bill would create more effective remedies for women who are not paid equal pay for equal work by requiring employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons, and including new tools for the Department of Labor to enforce pay equity and protections against retaliation for workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose wages.

“Working women – especially women of color – continue to suffer pay disparities while bearing the brunt of the coronavirus health and economic crisis. This is shameful and violates our nation’s values of fairness and equity,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “To eradicate gender-based pay discrimination and ensure El Paso families get back on their feet, I am proud to have voted for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act today. I commend Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro for her steadfast commitment to equality and look forward to working with the Democratic Senate and President Biden to enact this historic legislation.”

Nearly six decades after Congress enacted the 1963 Equal Pay Act, there is still a serious wage gap based on gender and race. Full-time working women earn only 82 cents, on average, for every dollar a man earns, which amounts to an annual disparity of $10,157 and a career disparity of more than $400,000. The gap is even larger for women of color: on average, Black women earn just 63 cents, Native American women just 60 cents, and Latinas just 55 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns.

To help close this gap, the Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens the protections against such disparities and closes the loopholes found in the Equal Pay Act. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons and ban retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages.
  • Prohibit employers from relying on salary history in determining future pay, so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job.
  • Improve the Department of Labor’s tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act and ensure women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to pay discrimination based on race and ethnicity.
  • Provide assistance to businesses to help them with develop equitable equal pay practices.
  • Create a negotiation skills training program to help women negotiate higher pay.

To view the Paycheck Fairness Act bill text, click here.

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