March 18, 2021
Dear Members of Congress,
Independent Women’s Voice, which fights to enhance people’s freedom, choices, and well-being, strongly opposes the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would not be good for paychecks or fairness.
We all want women (and men) to be treated fairly in the workplace, but the Paycheck Fairness Act would not outlaw sex-based discrimination. This abhorrent practice is already illegal. Both the Equal Pay Act (1963) and the Civil Rights Act (1964) protect women’s right to earn equal pay for equal work.
This isn’t to say that discrimination doesn’t exist. However the wage gap is not a metric of discrimination because it does not compare men and women in the same jobs, hours, or conditions.
Furthermore, the Paycheck Fairness Act would not boost women’s paychecks but only those of trial lawyers by allowing unlimited damages against employers. It would also require employees to opt out of (rather than into) class action suits against employers and invert our justice system by putting the burden of proof on employers to justify any pay disparity.
Not only would this increased legal exposure threaten workers’ existing flexible work arrangements since businesses would be more likely to adopt more rigid, one-size-fits-all practices to protect themselves, it would discourage the hiring and advancement of women, who would be viewed as a legal risk.
Even the Washington Post editorial board said of the PFA in 2009, it “invites too much intrusion and interference in core business decisions…Discrimination is abhorrent, but the Paycheck Fairness Act is not the right fix.”
We strongly urge all Members of Congress to reject the Paycheck Fairness Act, which, despite its innocuous name and good intentions, would cause women more harm than good.
Hadley Heath Manning
Director of Policy
Independent Women’s Voice