The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2009

S.182 H.R.12

This bill passed the House in January and is pending in the Senate.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee held a hearing on this bill on March 11, 2010.

The Paycheck Fairness Act amends the 1963 Equal Pay Act, which is a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act  of 1938 “to provide more effective remedies of victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act would:

  • Clarify acceptable reasons for differences in pay by requiring employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women doing the same work or substantial equal work are truly a result of bona fide factors such as, education, training or experience, and is not based on sex, is job related, and is consistent with business necessity.
  • Deter wage discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations, and by      prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about employers’ wage practices   or disclose their own wages. The bill would ensure that women workers in equal pay for substantially the same work cases can obtain the same remedies as those subject to discrimination on the basis of race or national origin.  Under current law the remedy allowed is up to 3 years back pay and double the amount if the plaintiff can prove a willful violation. This legislation would permit a plaintiff to seek compensatory and punitive damages.
  • Amends Civil Right of 1964 to require EEOC to collect from employees pay information data regarding sex, race, and national origin for use in enforcement.
  • Directs Commissioner on Labor Statistics to continue to collect data on women works in the current Employment Statistics Survey.



Status Update

Introduced in the Senate
Cloture motion to proceed to vote on the bill failed to attain required 2/3 vote. Vote was 58 yay and 41 nay.


Status Update

Introduced in House
Passed by the House by a recorded vote of 256 -163