Maryland’s Senator Barbara Mikulski intends to prioritize the Paycheck Fairness Act this term of Congress. The number of women senators reached an all-time high after this past election, and women now comprise 19% of the Senate. The bills, H.R. 377 and S. 84, are in committee.
When last considered, the House but not the Senate passed the law. The purpose is to sweep away some of the defenses by employers to their failure to pay women equally for the same job. Women still earn quite a bit less than men, for the same job.
At the same time, though, Senator Mikulski, together with House Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, asked the President to require government contractors to refrain from retaliating against or prohibiting workers from discussing their pay. While many people do not discuss pay because of culturally-instilled privacy reasons, a person paid less than a peer for doing the same job cannot always find out that she is underpaid, unless she asks.
The National Labor Relations Board already considers prohibitions against discussion of pay and other work conditions to be unfair labor practices, regardless of whether the workplace has a union