Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley and Senate colleagues today announced they introduced legislation that would combat wage discrimination and help close the gender wage gap by strengthening the Equal Pay Act of 1963, ensuring women can challenge pay discriminations and hold employers accountable in Oregon and nationwide.

“Today and every day, women deserve equal pay for equal work,” Wyden said. “It’s outrageous that women are paid less than their male coworkers despite working just as hard, especially women of color who on average make far less than their white counterparts—both male and female. Congress must urgently close the gender pay gap, starting with passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.” 

“It’s simply outrageous that the gender pay gap still exists in the United States in 2023,” said Senator Merkley. “Equal pay isn’t just an issue of fairness, it’s also about economic security for working families in Oregon and across the nation. I stand with women who are demanding equal pay, starting with the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.” 

The Paycheck Fairness Act would end the practice of pay secrecy and strengthen available remedies for wronged employees dealing with gender pay discrimination. Women in the U.S. still earn on average 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. This results in a pay gap of $11,782 each year and the disparity is worse for women of color. The wage gap impacts women’s ability to save for retirement and reduces their total Social Security and pension benefits, contributing to more senior women living in poverty.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would eliminate loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, breaking harmful patterns of pay discrimination and strengthening workplace protections for women.

The text of the legislation is here.

A fact sheet is here.