H.R.7 / S.270 - Paycheck Fairness Act

Photo of Congress member Representative Rosa DeLauro

To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe women should be able to challenge pay discrimination and hold their employers accountable for discriminatory practices. The gender pay gap in the U.S. deprives women of equal protection on the basis of sex, which directly violates the 5th and 14th Amendment of the constitution.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe that the gender pay gap exists but is not because of sex discrimination. There are numerous reasons as to why an employee might make less or more than other employees. In addition, the bill could open up employers to more lawsuits and consequentially empower trial lawyers.
Introduced House Senate President Law

The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold their employers accountable for discriminatory practices as part of an effort to address the gender pay gap in the United States.

The bill aims to end the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees.

What exactly is the gender pay gap?

It tends to be recognized as the ratio of female-to-male average yearly earnings among full-time and year-round workers, suggesting that these pay disparities are discriminatory towards women. There are some discrepancies as to where that ratio actually sits.

A 2008 U.S. Census Bureau study reports that women's median annual earnings were 77.5% of men's earnings, the U.S. Department of Labor in 2015 cited the gap at 82%, while a newer 2014 Claudia Goldin study published by the American Economic Review suggests that when the data is controlled for certain variables, the residual gap is actually at around 5-7%, or a ratio of 95-97% of earnings compared to that of their males counterpart.

A 2010 study by Catalyst of male and female MBA graduates found that after controlling for career aspirations, parental status, years of experience, industry, and other variables, male graduates are more likely to be assigned jobs of higher rank and responsibility and earn, on average, $4,600 more than women in their first post-MBA jobs.

The real answer tends to be blurry, although almost every study suggests that the gap does exist and women overall tend to earn less than their male counterparts.

The bill argues that the existence of such pay disparities depresses families' wages, prevents optimum utilization of available labor resources, burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in industries, and deprives workers of equal protection on the basis of sex, which directly violates the 5th and 14th Amendments of the constitution.

Republicans argue the bill is unfair for employers, since it would open up employers to more lawsuits and empower trial lawyers. Rep. Elise Stefanik(R-NY) has introduced similar legislation that is more "pro-business" and would be less steep about the compliance costs of the Democratic version while still addressing the gender pay gap.

“Women and men in the same job should have the same pay, and the Paycheck Fairness Act is a strong step forward in ensuring that we close the wage gap once and for all,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). “This legislation addresses the issue in a comprehensive and sensible manner—and it is long overdue."

“Congress passed the Equal Pay Act more than 50 years ago, but the sad reality is that today women, on average, still only make 80 cents for every dollar men make,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). “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. The gender wage gap doesn’t just hurt women—it hurts families, communities, and our economy."

The legislation passed the House on 03/27/19 with a 242/187 vote. It currently sits on committee on the Senate.


Sponsored by: Rep. Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3].

Cosponsored by: 1 Rep / 238 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

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