New legislation aimed to protect against wage discrimination passed the house on Wednesday. In a 242-187 vote, the Paycheck Fairness Act passed along party lines, The Hill reported.
Seven Republicans voted with Democrats to close the wage gap and amend the Equal Pay Act and Fair Labor Standards Act.
The bill will “provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes,” according to Congress.gov.
While the bill is said to fail passage in the Senate, advocates of the bill said it is the first step to address wage discrimination and hold employers accountable.
“The Paycheck Fairness Act is absolutely paramount in order to address such an important topic as gender pay fairness, especially in the U.S. where there currently are no laws mandating pay transparency. This topic has been seriously underrepresented and has garnered little attention by employers for too long. It is important that mandates like the Paycheck Fairness Act are put into place to force employers to act responsibly and fairly in how they pay their people. This is the 21st century and there is absolutely no excuse for employees to experience any kind of wage discrimination based on gender, race or in fact any other personal attribute. We are far too advanced as a society to not be proactive and transparent on pay fairness. Considering the U.S. is home to some of the most regarded and largest companies (by population and revenue), there is an increased level of responsibility for them to lead the way toward more transparent and fair pay practices. My hope is that mandates like the Paycheck Fairness Act are passed and put into practice, and at the very least, that it motivates employers to do the right thing by fairly and transparently compensating their entire workforce, especially those groups that have been unfairly compensated for so long,” Tanya Jansen, co-founder of beqom, said.
But critics of the bill argued that unnecessary lawsuits could arise from this bill.
“Everyone in this House is in agreement that pay discrimination on the basis of sex is wrong. No matter how you look at it, the law is very clear about this. But this bill doesn’t do anything to help working women. This is a bill for trial lawyers, plain and simple. And that’s what shows a fundamental difference in outlook and principle. Democrats want women to sue their bosses, Republicans want women to become the bosses,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member, said.