Local lawmakers lead the fight for fair pay - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Local lawmakers lead the fight for fair pay

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(02/19/13) - Two local lawmakers are leading the fight to get fair pay for women and men.

On average, Michigan women are paid 74 cents on the dollar for doing the same job as a man.

The House and the Senate are both debating a bill right now called the "Paycheck Fairness Act." Congressman Dan Kildee and Senator Debbie Stabenow are co-sponsors in their respective chambers.

"I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living wage equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year," said President Obama.

During his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama said our "economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace."

The Paycheck Fairness Act aims to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, passed back in 1963. It would require employers to prove pay disparities exist for a reason - like their jobs are different. It would also prohibit employers from taking action against employees who share salary information.

This is one of the first bills freshman Congressman Dan Kildee has co-sponsored.

"Often, women in the workplace aren't aware that they're being discriminated against, so this would make it easier for that information to be shared and not penalize people for providing that information to one another," he said.

Senator Debbie Stabenow says pay inequity is an economic issue for Michigan families.

"We have moms that are the sole bread-winner for their children, moms and dads that are needing both incomes to be able to make ends meet and pay the mortgage. So to have one person pay less than they should be just because of their gender doesn't make any sense," she said.

The Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced in Congress four years to the day another pay inequity bill was signed into law. The Lilly Ledbetter Act makes it easier for women to challenge unfair pay in court.

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