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Women who work full time are paid about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, which adds up to over $400,000 in missed wages over a woman’s career. For minority women, the loss is about $1 million in missed wages, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
In an attempt to counteract the pervasive gender pay gap at the federal level, Senator Kamala Harris announced a proposal requiring large companies to certify that their men and women workers are paid equally. This legislation departs from previous ones regarding the pay gap because it makes companies accountable instead of leaving the onus on employees to report or sue pay discrepancies.
“For too long, we’ve put the burden entirely on workers to hold corporations accountable for pay discrimination through costly lawsuits that are increasingly difficult to prove,” Ms. Harris’s campaign said in an official announcement. “We’ve let corporations hide their wage gaps, but forced women to stand up in court just to get the pay they’ve earned.”
If enacted this plan would force companies with 100 or more employees to obtain an “equal pay certification” every two years that proves they are paying their workers the same for equivalent work, regardless of gender. Companies that fail to meet the equal pay certification standards will be fined 1 percent of their profits for every 1 percent difference in payment between men and women employees.
If action is not taken by Congress, Senator Harris states that she will apply these standards to all federal contractors. If they fail to meet the pay certification standards, then they will not be allowed to compete for federal contracts valued at over $500,000.