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Tonko Calls for Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act on Equal Pay Day

New York wage gap 2nd smallest in nation behind DC, but women in Empire State continue to earn 87 cents for every dollar earned by men

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Washington, April 12, 2016 | Sean Magers (202-225-5076) | comments

Equal Pay Day symbolizes the day when, more than three months into the year, women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. As we mark Equal Pay Day today, on April 12, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko again calls for more work to be done to close the wage gap that still exists between women and men – including the passage of legislation he has cosponsored, the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1619). The bill has 193 cosponsors including 192 House Democrats and one House Republican, Rep. Chris Smith from New Jersey.

“New York has made great strides in the past few years to close the wage gap, but when we look at states like Louisiana or Utah where women earn 65 cents and 67 cents for each dollar a man does, respectively, it is clear national federal legislation is needed. In 2016, we should be watching Mad Men on Netflix instead of living out its scenes in the workplace,” said Tonko. “We cannot get serious about developing our economy and boosting the middle class when we continue to hamstring the wages of more than half of our workforce.”

Among its provisions, the Paycheck Fairness Act prohibits employer retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers; requires employers to show that pay disparity is truly job-related, not based on gender; strengthens remedies for women experiencing pay discrimination; and empowers women in the workplace through a grant program to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills.

Unfortunately, just since 2013, House Republicans have voted nine times to block the Paycheck Fairness Act from being considered on the House Floor.

Based on the most recent figures from the National Women’s Law Center, New York State maintains the 2nd smallest wage gap among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, which boasts the smallest. Nationally, the wage gap remains at 21.4 cents.

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