Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Fair Is Your Paycheck?

It might be hard to tell, given that Americans think talking about their earnings is worse than having porn on their computers at work. Or so it seems sometimes to me.

A new bill tries to make women's paychecks fairer:

Today, the House will consider the Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R. 1338.


The Paycheck Fairness Act:

* Requires that employers seeking to justify unequal pay bear the burden of proving that its actions are job-related and consistent with a business necessity.
* Prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers.
* Puts gender-based discrimination sanctions on equal footing with other forms of wage discrimination – such as discrimination based on race, disability or age – by allowing women to sue for compensatory and punitive damages.
* Requires the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to work with employers in order to eliminate pay disparities.
* Requires the Department of Labor to continue to collect and disseminate wage information based on gender.
* Creates a new grant program to help strengthen the negotiation skills of girls and women.

These are important points. Just think what happens if the Department of Labor stops to gather earnings data by gender: That would make it much harder to know if women are paid fairly, wouldn't it now? And I especially like the first point on that list, because it's the employers who have all the necessary data for that proof, and also the second point on that list, because I have never understood why stealing on the basis of sex is a lesser crime than stealing on the basis of race, disability or age.

Georgie will veto this bill, of course. The W in his name stands for women, as his campaign used to say. Only it's short for "war against women."