Senator Stabenow Statement on Equal Pay Day, Presidential Executive Orders on Equal Pay

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Today, April 8, marks Equal Pay Day, the day when women's earnings finally catch up to those of men. Because of gender discrimination in pay, women nationally, on average, still earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Women must work one year, three months and 8 days - more than three months into the current year - to earn the same amount a man earned during just the 12 months of 2013.

"We need to give women and their families a fair shot to get ahead in life by making sure that women finally receive equal pay for equal work," said Stabenow. "I want to thank President Obama for taking action today to help protect the employees of federal contractors from pay discrimination. Now it's time for Congress to act and to make sure that all Americans have the tools they need to protect themselves from this terrible form of discrimination and hold those responsible accountable. Ending gender discrimination in pay is not a partisan issue; it's just the right thing to do in order to create an economy that works for all Americans, not just the privileged and the powerful."

President Obama today signed two executive orders that will help protect the employees of federal contractors from gender discrimination in pay by allowing workers to discuss their wages with one another without fear of retaliation and by requiring contractors to disclose information about wages by gender and race.

Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199), a measure co-sponsored by Sen. Stabenow. The Paycheck Fairness Act builds on the progress of the Equal Pay Act, passed more than 50 years ago, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first law signed by President Obama after he took office in 2009. The Paycheck Fairness Act will help reduce gender discrimination in pay by empowering women to negotiate for equal pay, closing loopholes courts have created in the law, creating strong incentives for employers to obey the laws and strengthening federal outreach and enforcement efforts.

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, gender discrimination in pay costs the average working woman in Michigan $13,125 per year, which is enough to buy 107 weeks worth of food, pay the mortgage and utilities for 11 months, or purchase 3,543 gallons of gas.