Statement by US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on Equal Pay Day

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–April 20, 2010.  Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement on Equal Pay Day:

“Nearly a half century after the Equal Pay Act was enacted to ensure equal pay for equal work, this form of discrimination continues to impinge upon women’s rights in the workplace. As women hold nearly half of this nation’s jobs, their earnings have become even more central to families’ economic well-being.

“Pay equity is not simply a question of fairness; it is an economic imperative with serious implications not just for women, but for communities and the nation’s economic recovery. My vision of ‘good jobs for everyone’ includes increasing incomes, eliminating wage and income inequality, and helping workers who are in low-wage jobs find a path into the middle class.

“The first piece of legislation that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. In signing the bill, he said, ‘Equal pay is by no means just a women’s issue — it’s a family issue… And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month’s paychecks to simple discrimination.’

“Currently, the Paycheck Fairness Act has passed the House and is gaining momentum in the Senate. If passed, it would be the first ever comprehensive update of the Equal Pay Act. It would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the earlier legislation, create stronger incentives for employers to follow the law and strengthen federal enforcement efforts.

“Several efforts are underway within the U.S. Department of Labor’s agencies to advance progress on this front. For example, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has renewed its emphasis on the identification and elimination of gender-based discrimination at the worksites of federal contractors. In addition, the Women’s Bureau is conducting research and analysis, providing technical assistance and building partnerships to increase women’s incomes, narrow the wage gap and reduce income inequality.

“This Equal Pay Day, I want to recognize that, although progress is being made, equal pay is still far from a reality for millions of working women and their families. We must continue to pursue pay equity with passion and determination.”