Kirsten Gillibrand United States Senator for New York

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Gillibrand: Women are Primary Bread-Winners for Almost Half of New York Families, Yet Receive 15 Percent Lower Pay for the Same Work as Men; Senator Announces New Effort to End Unacceptable Disparity

COUNTY-BY-COUNTY Estimates: Women Earning 14.6% Less Than Men in NYS, 41.5% of New York Mothers are Primary Source of Household Income

May 22, 2012

Washington, D.C. – With a new report showing that working mothers across New York state earn 14.6 percent less than men, even while an increasing amount of families rely on a mothers’ earnings as their main source of income to make ends meet, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is leading the effort to finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation expected for a vote on the Senate floor in the coming weeks. 

The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes employers can use to shortchange workers, hold employers accountable for pay inequity, make it easier for workers to pursue back pay, and provide working women with access to training and other resources to help empower them to negotiate for a paycheck that meets their value. 

“Shortchanging women on the job doesn’t just rob them of a fair paycheck. It makes families less secure, and slows economic growth across the board,” Senator Gillibrand said. “With more dual-income households than ever, and with more families relying on working mothers to make ends meet, the key to economic growth and security for the middle class is equal pay for women.”

On average, median earnings of full-time working women earn 14.6 percent less than men in New York State. 41.5 percent of New York households rely on mothers as the main source of income, and mothers in New York make up 42.6 percent of family earnings, according to a new report from the Joint Economic Committee, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • In New York City, over 530,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $142 less than men each week.
  • In Western New York, over 105,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $100 less than men each week.
  • In the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, over 100,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $107 less than men each week.
  • In Central New York, approximately 90,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $105 less than men each week.
  • In the Southern Tier, over 40,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $110 less than men each week.
  • In the Capital Region, approximately 90,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $112 less than men each week.
  • In the North Country, approximately 37,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $100 less than men each week.
  • In the Hudson Valley, over 180,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $132 less than men each week.
  • On Long Island, over 225,000 households depend on mothers’ earnings, and working women earn on average $147 less than men each week.

Even though the Equal Pay Act has been the law of the land for over 40 years, women earn on average 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, and even less for women of color. African American women earn 68 cents on the dollar, and Latinas earn just 59 cents to the dollar.

Studies show that paying women a dollar for every dollar a man makes could grow America’s GDP by as much as 9 percent. 

Paycheck Fairness Act

The Paycheck Fairness Act builds on the promise of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and helps close the pay gap by empowering women to negotiate for equal pay, closing loopholes courts have created in the law, creating strong incentives for employers to obey the laws, and strengthening federal outreach and enforcement efforts.


Specifically, the legislation:

  • Clarifies the ‘any factor other than sex’ defense so an employer trying to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must show the disparity is not sex-based; is job related and is necessary for the business.
  • Prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss or disclose salary information with their co-workers. 
  • Strengthens the remedies available to include punitive and compensatory damages. Currently under the Equal Pay Act, plaintiffs can only recover back pay or, in some cases, double back pay. The bill would ensure that women can receive the same remedies for pay discrimination that are available under other laws for discrimination based on race and national origin. 

 

  • Requires the Department of Labor to improve outreach and training efforts to work with employers in order to eliminate pay disparities.

 

  • Enhances the collection of information on women’s and men’s wages in order to more fully explore the reasons for the wage gap and help employers in addressing pay disparities.

 

  • Creates a new grant program to help strengthen the negotiation skills of girls and women.