Luján: Equal Pay Day Reminds Us Of Importance Of Paycheck Fairness Act

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District marked Equal Pay Day today, which symbolizes when, more than three months into 2015, women’s wages will finally catch up to what men earned last year. 

On average, women earn 78 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Luján has co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide effective solutions and protections for women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.

“The pay gap between men and women doesn’t just impact hard-working women – it impacts their families and their ability to put food on the table, send a child to college, or buy a home,” Luján said.  “At the current rate that the gap has been closing, women won’t reach pay equity with men until 2058. That’s why women and their families need the Paycheck Fairness Act. As long as hard-working women are making less for the same work, we must fight to pass this important legislation. Because when women succeed, America succeeds.”

In New Mexico, women earn 82 cents for every dollar that a man does. While this is slightly higher than the national average, it still represents a gap of more than $7,700 every year. For Latinas and African American women, the wage gap is even worse. Latinas make 56 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man and African American women make 64 cents. A study by the National Women’s Law Center found that in 108 of 111 occupations analyzed, the earnings of women were less than the earnings of men. 

Equal pay has been a top priority of Congressional Democrats, who passed the Paycheck Fairness Act in the House in 2008, but it was blocked by Senate Republicans. Since then, Congressional Republicans have repeatedly stood in the way of its passage. Among its many provisions, the bill requires employers to show that pay disparity is truly related to job performance, not gender; strengthens remedies for women experiencing pay discrimination; prohibits employer retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers; and empowers women in the workplace through a grant program to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills.

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