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Federal Legislation

The Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act were reintroduced in 2009 by their sponsors.

Then-Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) were the sponsors of the Fair Pay Act, to clarify that the federal Equal Pay Act (1963) calls for equal pay for comparable work as well as "equal work" (the same work). This is also referred to as "comparable worth" or "pay equity" and deals with the fact that jobs traditionally done by women ("women's work" or predominately female occupations) are poorly compensated compared with jobs traditionally done by men ("men's work").

Then-Senator Hillary Clinton (New York) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which includes increasing the penalties for violations of the Equal Pay Act and other federal laws against discrimination in compensation. A major problem in closing the women's wage gap is the lack of motivation for employers to follow the laws, because the penalties are not sufficient and enforcement is not effective.

More information on the two bills can be obtained from the National Committee on Pay Equity. Email fairpay@pay-equity.org or write to NCPE, Attn. C. Cordovilla, c/o AFT, 555 New Jersey Ave. NW, Suite 402, Washington, D.C. 20001-2079

State Legislation

Please email information on any relevant state legislation.

California's 2015 Fair Pay Act (SB358) is now incorporated into state law as Section 1197.5 of the Labor Code.