March 15, 2022
Dear Senators and Members of Congress,
Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) fights for women and their loved ones by expanding support among women, independents, and millennials for policy solutions that aren’t just well-intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being. On behalf of IWV, we urge you to reject the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7/S. 205), which would not be good either for paychecks or for fairness.
Women (and men) must be treated fairly in the workplace, but the Paycheck Fairness Act would not outlaw sex-based discrimination. Thankfully, sex discrimination in employment and pay is already illegal. Both the Equal Pay Act (1963) and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protect the right to earn equal pay for equal work.
This isn’t to say that discrimination doesn’t exist. However, the so-called wage gap is not a proper metric of discrimination because it does not compare apples to apples (i.e., men and women in the same jobs, who work the same hours, under the same conditions, or for the same employer).
Rather than boost women’s paychecks, the Paycheck Fairness Act would simply line the pockets of trial lawyers by allowing them to file class action lawsuits on behalf of employees who never affirmatively agree to bring suit (and by putting the burden of proof on employers to justify any statistical pay disparities).
This increased legal exposure would threaten workers’ existing flexible work arrangements and mean fewer flexible job opportunities because businesses would be more likely to adopt more rigid, one-size-fits-all practices to protect themselves. Women, who highly value jobs that allow them flexibility, would be hit the hardest. In fact, in a recent Gallup poll, women looking for a new job were more likely to say greater work-life balance was the most important factor, even ahead of compensation and benefits, when considering whether or not to take a new position.
Even the Washington Post editorial board once said of the PFA, 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 senators and 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