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On Equal Pay Day, Sen. Brown Calls for Passage of Bill to End Pay Discrimination

From the Office of Senator Brown

April 12,2016 - 12:03 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Equal Pay Day, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged passage of legislation that would close loopholes that allow women to continue to be paid less than men. In Ohio, women are paid only 78 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Nationwide, women earn 79 percent of what men make.

“When women earn less than men in the workforce, it means less money to save for retirement, put gas in the car, or pay down student loans. This hurts women, families and our economy,” said Brown. “Equal work should mean equal pay – regardless of gender. It is past time we close this wage gap and ensure that all workers receive equal pay for equal work.”

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, in 2015, Ohio women who worked full-time earned just 78 percent of what male employees earned. Women had median weekly earnings of $663, compared to $846 for men.

To address this gap, Sen. Brown supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and help women fight wage discrimination by:

  • Disallowing employers from retaliating against workers who discuss their salaries with their colleagues;
  • Making gender-based discrimination as equal to other forms of wage discrimination, and allowing women to take legal action for damages;
  • Requiring employers to prove that pay differences exist for legitimate reasons such as education, training, and experience;
  • Creating a negotiation skills training program for women and girls;
  • Establishing the Secretary of Labor’s National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace for an employer who has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women;
  • Providing small businesses and other businesses assistance with equal pay practices; and
  • Enhancing the ability of the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate and enforce pay discrimination laws. 

In January, Brown pressed the Labor Department to finalize its rule on the Equal Pay Report to ensure that this important data collection tool will include information from federal contractors.

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