Senator STEPHEN M. SWEENEY
District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)
Senator LORETTA WEINBERG
District 37 (Bergen)
Senator BARBARA BUONO
District 18 (Middlesex)
Senators Codey and Beach
Urges Congress to pass "Paycheck Fairness Act."
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
A Senate Resolution urging Congress to pass the "Paycheck Fairness Act."
Whereas, More than 40 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the "Equal Pay Act" (EPA) into law, making it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work; the following year, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, making it illegal to discriminate, including in wages and pay, on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, and national origin; at the time of the EPA's passage in 1963, women earned merely 59 cents to every dollar earned by men; and
Whereas, Although enforcement of the EPA as well as other civil rights laws have helped to narrow the gender income gap, significant male-female income differences remain today, which is of particular concern in light of the present day economy; and
Whereas, The general population has suffered because of the economic downturn, women have had a greater loss of jobs and a greater loss in wages than men during this time; and
Whereas, The gender income gap refers to the ratio of female to male median yearly earnings among full-time, year-round workers; in 2009, United States Census Bureau data showed that women made 77 cents on every dollar earned by men, meaning female full-time, year-round workers earned 23% less then their male counterparts; and
Whereas, Minority women fare significantly worse with respect to the gender income gap; the median earnings for African American and Hispanic women working full-time, year-round is far less compared to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts; and
Whereas, The gender income gap also exists across a wide spectrum of occupations and education levels; in 2009, the largest income gap between men and women was found in high paying occupations, such as health care professionals and those relating to financial activities, while in other occupations, such as in the construction industry and occupations relating to computer science and mathematics, the gap was narrower; although graduation from high school helps to boost a woman's median income, the median income for a man with a high school diploma is markedly higher than those of women who also graduate with a high school degree; studies have also shown that women who graduate from college with a bachelor's degree earn far less than their male colleagues just one year out of college, and the pay gap widens 10 years after graduation; and
Whereas, Pay inequity also follows women into retirement, jeopardizing their economic security once they leave the workforce; of the multiple sources of income Americans rely on later in life, many are directly linked to a person's career-long earnings, including Social Security and pension benefits; for example, in 2009, an older woman's Social Security benefits were 71% of an older man's, and income from public and private pensions based on a woman's work history was 60% and 48% of a man's pension income, respectively; and
Whereas, Studies have shown that even when all relevant career and family attributes are taken into account, there is still an unexplained gap in men's and women's earnings which can be attributed to gender discrimination; and
Whereas, Women in New Jersey are increasingly responsible for the economic security of their families, with nearly 60% of working mothers bringing in more than a quarter of their families' income; 21% of women-headed households in the State live below the federal poverty level; on average, a woman working full time, year-round in the State is paid $44,166, while her male counterpart earns $57,738; this means that at 76%, New Jersey has a female to male earnings ratio lower than the national ratio of 77%; and
Whereas, As a group, full-time working women in New Jersey lose approximately $15,781,630,040 each year due to the gender income gap; if the gap were eliminated, women in this State and their families would have more money for groceries, mortgage, rent, and utilities payments, and family health insurance premiums; the extra wages would provide critical income for over 88,000 families living in poverty; and
Whereas, In order to expand the scope of the EPA and address the gender income gap in the United States, the "Paycheck Fairness Act" was originally introduced in Congress in 2008 and would make it easier for those who are targets of wage discrimination to address the issue, allowing employees to disclose salary information with co-workers despite workplace rules prohibiting such disclosure; and
Whereas, This legislation also would require employers to prove that any wage discrepancies are based on legitimate, job-related requirements, and specific characteristics of the position not related to gender, prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who raise work parity issues, create a negotiation skills training program for women and girls, provide assistance to small businesses to help with equal pay practices, and enhance the United States Department of Labor's and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's abilities to investigate and enforce pay discrimination laws; and
Whereas, In 2009, although the House of Representatives passed the "Paycheck Fairness Act," the Senate failed to do so and the bill was reintroduced in both houses of Congress in April of 2011; in the 2012 State of the Union Address, President Obama encouraged the Senate to pass the "Paycheck Fairness Act" to help "ensure that men and women who do equal work receive the equal pay that they and their families deserve"; and
Whereas, In order to combat the persistent income gap that is attributable to systemic gender discrimination, provide women with more tools to achieve pay equity in the workplace, and assist the two-thirds of American families who rely on a woman's wages as a significant portion of their incomes achieve economic security, Congress is urged to pass the "Paycheck Fairness Act"; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Senate urges the United States Congress to pass the "Paycheck Fairness Act" in order to combat the persistent income gap that is attributable to systemic gender discrimination, provide women with more tools to achieve pay equity in the workplace, and assist the two-thirds of American families who rely on a woman's wages as a significant portion of their income achieve economic security.
2. Duly authenticated copies of this resolution, signed by the President of the Senate and attested by the Secretary of the Senate, shall be transmitted to the President of the United States, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the United States Department of Labor, and every member of the New Jersey Congressional delegation.
This resolution urges the United States Congress to pass the "Paycheck Fairness Act" in order to combat the persistent income gap that is attributable to systemic gender discrimination, provide women with more tools to achieve pay equity in the workplace, and assist the two-thirds of American families who rely on a woman's wages as a significant portion of their income achieve economic security.