On March 18, 2021, NWLC’s President and CEO, Fatima Goss Graves testified in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act at the House Committee on Education & Labor, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services and Subcommittee on Workforce Protections’ hearing, “Fighting for Fairness: Examining Legislation to Confront Workplace Discrimination.”
The Paycheck Fairness and Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Acts are critical pieces of legislation in the fight for gender equity and justice, and the importance of these bills and the need for stronger protections for working women has been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the deep gaps in our economic and social infrastructure that have resulted from decades of underinvestment and policy choices that failed to center the needs of women, especially Black, Latina, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander women, and other women of color. Women of color are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession: as essential workers risking their lives for minimum wage, as those who have most borne devastating job losses, and those who are shouldering most of the responsibility for caregiving without necessary supports.
Among other key provisions, the Paycheck Fairness Act will prohibit employers from relying on salary history to set pay when hiring, guarantee women can receive the same remedies for sex-based pay discrimination as are available for race- or ethnicity-based discrimination, promote pay transparency by protecting employees from retaliation for discussing or disclosing their wages, and require employers to report race and gender wage gaps to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act strengthens protections for pregnant workers, ensuring that that pregnant workers can continue to do their jobs and support their families by setting out a simple, easy to apply legal standard that would provide clarity for employers and employees alike. It would require employers to make reasonable workplace adjustments for those workers who need them due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, like lactation, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the employer.