Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones joined his colleagues on Wednesday to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable.
Jones first sponsored the legislation, which Democrats have tried to pass for 20 years, last year when he first joined the Senate. The legislation endeavors to strengthen and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by holding employers accountable for discriminatory practices, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees.
“Despite the strides we’ve taken since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, millions of women, and particularly women of color, still face wage discrimination,” said Jones. “It is long past time to level the playing field for America’s workforce and to fulfill the vision Congress laid out over fifty years ago. We took an important step forward a decade ago thanks to the courage and persistence of Lilly Ledbetter, but as long as women still face a wage gap with their peers, we must continue to fight for equal pay.”
According to Senator Patty Murray, the bill’s sponsor, women “still only make 80 cents for every dollar men make.”
“For women of color—the pay gap is even worse. African American women working full-time only make 61 cents for every dollar white men make and Latinas on average are paid 53 cents for every dollar their white male colleagues make,” Murray explained. “The gender wage gap doesn’t just hurt women—it hurts families, communities, and our economy. So I’m proud to introduce the Paycheck Fairness Act today to make important updates to the Equal Pay Act and reaffirm that every worker in America has the right to receive equal pay for equal work.”