WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) recognized Equal Pay Day and called on the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to improve transparency and accountability measures for employers and protect women from retaliation if they challenge wage discrimination based on gender.
“Women in New Mexico and across the country deserve equal pay for equal work,” said Senator Heinrich, the Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee. “The persistent gender wage gap holds back our economy, keeps money out of working families’ pockets, and undermines the principle that everyone deserves an honest day's pay for a full day's work. The Senate needs to follow the House’s lead and pass important reforms to the Equal Pay Day to provide women with the tools they need to challenge unfair wages and tackle this injustice once and for all.”
“As a nation, we must act to ensure that all women are fairly and equally compensated. I will continue to fight for this until our daughters, mothers, and sister’s paychecks do not contradict our American value of equality for all,” said Senator Luján. “It is as important as ever to support women in the workforce with equal pay to not only their boost dreams, but their future success. It’s past time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, an important step forward in the fight to close the wage gap.”
Equal Pay Day represents how far into the year an American woman must work, on average, in order to earn as much as an American man earned in the past year. The Joint Economic Committee released a new report today highlighting how, despite progress, women continue to face barriers to equal pay for equal work. In 2020, the latest year for which data are available, women on average earned 83% of what men on average earned. However, this aggregate statistic masks significant racial disparities: Black and Hispanic women face the widest pay gap, earning just 63 cents and 57 cents, respectively, for every dollar white men earn.
Senators Heinrich and Luján are both cosponsors of S. 205, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by holding employers accountable for discriminatory practices, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees.
The legislation is sponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.). A companion bill sponsored by U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) passed out of the House of Representatives on April 15, 2021.
You can read the full text of the bill here.