DeLauro, Murray Introduce the Paycheck Fairness Act

Ranking Member Scott: “This bill is one more step toward finally achieving equal pay for equal work.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would combat wage discrimination and help close the wage gap by strengthening the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and ensuring women can challenge pay discriminations and hold employers accountable. 


Ahead of Equal Pay Day on March 14, Representative DeLauro and Senator Murray joined advocates in underscoring the need to pass their Paycheck Fairness Act—which would end the practice of pay secrecy and strengthen available remedies for wronged employees—as the gender pay stubbornly persists. Across the U.S., women still earn, on average, just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, resulting in a gap of $11,782 each year—and the disparity is worse for women of color. 

“The gender wage gap is not only discriminatory, it undermines the financial stability of families and slows our economic growth. Despite current protections, inadequate remedies and limited enforcement tools have allowed gender-based wage discrimination to persist—leaving women, particularly women of color, without the pay they deserve,” said Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “The Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens enforcement of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, helps to lift families out of poverty, and finally aligns the fight against workplace gender discrimination with other federal anti-discrimination laws. This bill is one more step toward finally achieving equal pay for equal work.” 

“Men and women in the same job deserve the same pay,” said DeLauro. “It is a simple concept that has eluded so many in our workforce for far too long. It is time that ends. We must enact the Paycheck Fairness Act to close the expanding pay gap and give women the necessary tools to dispute pay discrimination in their workplace. This legislation is overdue, needed, and will meet women in the workplace where they are now. It is time for us to say that the work that women do in our society today is valued, and respected, and a needed contribution that we make.” 

“Women across our country are still being paid less than their male counterparts, still being shortchanged, and it’s time we finally take action to close the wage gap,” said Senator Murray. “When we talk about the wage gap, we are ultimately talking about huge, life-changing amounts of pay that women are being cheated out of. Women are paying the price of inaction, and we have to put a stop to sexist pay practices—for good. That’s why I’m proud to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act with Congresswoman DeLauro and every Democrat in the Senate today—to update our laws and take common sense steps to combat pay discrimination.” 

“I want to thank Congresswoman DeLauro and Senator Murray for their tireless work for women and families and for the reintroduction of the Paycheck Fairness Act,” said Gaylynn Burroughs, director of workplace equality at the National Women’s Law Center. “We all want to be paid fairly, yet the work that women do—often the work that makes up the backbone of our economy—is consistently undervalued and underpaid, contributing to a gender wage gap that has barely budged in the last decade and that continues to exist in almost every occupation. The Paycheck Fairness Act is needed to strengthen the Equal Pay Act and provide new tools to help ensure fair pay and fight discrimination.”

“Lost wages make the strain that women face supporting themselves and their families even harder, especially at a time when rents and the price of necessities continue to rise,” said Sharita Gruberg, Vice President for economic justice at the National Partnership for Women & Families. “The wage gap is more than numbers. Women workers can’t afford to wait anymore and neither can our economy. It is time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and make pay discrimination history.”


"The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed the critical role that women play in keeping our country running. However, women—particularly women of color—continue to be paid less than their male counterparts in virtually every industry and occupation in this country,” said Melvina Ford, National Legal Director at Equal Rights Advocates. “The Paycheck Fairness Act will close loopholes and ensure robust protections against sex-based pay discrimination under federal law and we applaud Rep. DeLauro and Senator Murray for their leadership in the fight for pay equity.”  

“Our nation’s families and economy continue to suffer because of persistent wage discrimination, with moms and women of color facing the widest wage gaps and the most devastating harm,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO, MomsRising.  “Congress must take action, and passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act would be an essential step toward protecting women from losing much-needed income to wage discrimination. Its speedy passage should be a top priority for every lawmaker.”


“The Paycheck Fairness Act is an essential step towards addressing the persistent pay inequity facing women in our country,” said Gloria Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer at American Association of University Women (AAUW). “By allowing more transparency and providing tools to challenge wage discrimination and incentivizing employers to do the right thing, this bill will also help address wealth gaps that disproportionately impact Black and brown women.” 

Across all workers in the United States, including those working part-time or part of the year women, on average, earn just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, resulting in a gap of $11,782 each year. The gap exists in every state, regardless of geography, occupation, education, or work patterns. And it is worse for women of color: compared to white men, Black women are paid 64 cents, Latina women are paid 54 cents, Native American women are paid 51 cents, and Asian American and Pacific Islander women are paid as little as 80 cents. For a woman working full-time year-round, the current wage gap represents a loss of nearly $400,000 over the course of her career. The wage gap impacts women’s ability to save for retirement and reduces their total Social Security and pension benefits, contributing to more older women living in poverty.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work. Along with other key civil rights laws that followed, it helped change the workplace and began to combat wage inequality—but these laws have not been updated in decades and have not closed the persistent gap between women’s and men’s wages. In the last two decades, the pay gap has barely budged

The Paycheck Fairness Act would eliminate loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, breaking harmful patterns of pay discrimination and strengthening workplace protections for women. It is included among President Biden’s gender equality priorities. 

You can find a fact sheet on the legislation here. The text of the legislation is available here.

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