Tag: Equal Pay

Senate Votes for Jobs over Job-Killing Paycheck Fairness Act

By a vote of 58 to 41 this morning, the Senate effectively blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.3772) by failing to garner the 60 votes necessary to invoke cloture on the legislation. This was a tough vote for many due to the sound bite appeal of the bill’s title, but in the end they did the right thing and voted for jobs. Supporters claim that the bill would have established gender pay equity in the workplace. Unfortunately, the legislation would have done nothing to prevent actual instances of illegal discrimination. Instead, it would have posed a tremendous threat to manufacturers’ efforts to create and retain jobs by inviting uncertainty to almost every pay decision employers make. Manufacturers are committed to fair pay in the workplace, but it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which this bill would not have led to lower wages and fewer jobs.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would have invited unwarranted and costly litigation against employers at a time when businesses are struggling in the weak economic recovery. We appreciate that the Senate recognized this misguided bill’s harmful impact on job creation and prevented it from moving forward. With today’s vote now behind us, we remain committed to working with Congress to prioritize proposals that will promote economic growth and help manufacturers create jobs.

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Paycheck Fairness Slogans Do Not Help Create Jobs

White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett has written an op-ed in today’s Washington Post in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Her piece uses outdated and inaccurate data to misrepresent the alleged pay gap between genders. In claiming women earn only 77 percent of what their male counterparts do, Ms. Jarrett conveniently ignores updated statistics from the Department of Labor that show the gap is much smaller. More interestingly, she ignores a more comprehensive analysis of the issue that the Department of Labor commissioned by the CONSAD group. This analysis available here was conveniently removed from the Department of Labor’s website after the Obama Administration took over the agency.

While the specifics of the alleged pay gap can be debated ad nauseum by economists, we understand why the White House felt it necessary to offer an op-ed to the Post the paper soundly rejected the proposal in an editorial in January 2009.

While we don’t always agree with the Post’s ed board on many issues, we strongly concur with their position on the bill. The Paycheck Fairness Act will not prevent actual instances of illegal pay discrimination. It will, however, allow the Federal government to second-guess almost all employee wages and encourage lawsuits that expose employers to unlimited damage awards. The bill substantially restricts employers’ ability to base pay decisions on legitimate factors such as professional experience, education, training, employer need, local labor market rates, hazard pay, shift differentials and the profitability of the organization. The legislation could  expose employee wages or salaries to peers, family, friends and competitors.

That’s bad news for employees, as employers are already facing tremendous amounts of uncertainty in today’s economic conditions.

It’s unfortunate that the White House and Senate leaders are pushing this type of legislation before the midterm elections for what looks to be political reasons. Congress should instead focus on getting the economy back on track and not make it harder for manufacturers to create and retain jobs.

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