Earlier this week, the Senate failed to advance a measure designed to promote gender pay equity called the Paycheck Fairness Act.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because I told you so.
As I predicted, sixty U.S. Senators could not agree to end the debate (e.g., filibuster) on the PFA and move to a vote on the actual legislation. The final procedural vote was 50-49, right along partisan lines. Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) was not present to vote.
This is the 13th time the PFA has failed to get to the President’s desk for a signature.
But don’t forget that many states have raised the bar on equal pay. In New Jersey, for example, the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act generally prohibits an employer from paying an employee who is a member of any protected class under state law less than what it pays an employee who is not a member of that same protected class for substantially similar work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility. To boot, an employer must satisfy five payment criteria to defeat a claim of unequal pay.
As for the rest of you in less employee-friendly states, the Equal Pay Act continues to set the bar. Companies can pay men and women doing the same or similar work differently as long as the employer can demonstrate that it based the pay differential on “any other factor other than sex.”