The Paycheck Fairness Act is U.S. legislation aimed at closing the gender wage gap, the 77 cents that women earn for every dollar men earn for doing the same work. Supporters, including Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Rep. Rosa DeLuro, point to the fact as evidence that more legislative protection is needed for women's wages. To understand what the Paycheck Fairness Act is, it helps to know that the proposed law, which has failed to pass Congress several times, would build on a legislative history that includes the 1963 Equal Pay Act, 1964 Civil Rights Act and 2009 Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would subject employers to the same kind of monetary damages for gender discrimination that they face for racial discrimination. It also would call for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to analyze already-available pay data with a goal to better detect illegal gender discrimination.