Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is worried that the Paycheck Fairness Act—a bill designed to ensure equal pay—will hurt men.
“Take me through exactly what would have to happen, with a specific example of a man and woman, where a man is being paid less than the woman,” Alexander asked during a Senate hearing. “Because this law is not just about women — it’s about men and women.”
The bill is expected to come up to a vote soon—Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats will take a break from their minimum wage push to advance a vote on this bill.
The Chamber of Commerce’s Camille Olson assured Alexander the bill protects men and women equally.
“An employer would have to show that the woman was being paid more because of a factor other than sex, such as a qualification, advanced degree, or more experience,” she explained.
Census data shows that women make 77 cents to the dollar men make; they’d likely be a chief benefactor of the bill, which would expand on the Equal Pay Act. A similar bill failed in 2012 due to concerns from businesses, but Democrats have resurrected it as part of an election-year push on equal pay and wage issues.
“The legislation I’ve introduced ensures that women will no longer be on their own fighting for equal pay for equal work. With paycheck fairness, we can put change in the law books, and change into checkbooks of working families across America,” Maryland Democrat Sen. Barbara Mikulski said on Tuesday.
The bill would allow employees to share their salary information and employers would be obligated to show that pay disparities between male and females is due to job performance and not gender.