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May 16, 2013

Equal Pay Act vs. Paycheck Fairness Act

Reintroduced for the 18th time in 16 years this past January, the Paycheck Fairness Act, if passed, will close some major loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963, according to the American Association of University Women's Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations. Don't miss our June feature Level the Paying Field, in which MC investigates pay parity for women and talks to five powerful female celebrities about the unequal pay.

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Photo Credit: Bettman/Corbis

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EQUAL PAY ACT

Acceptable reasons to paying women less than men: Seniority, merit, productivity — but managers can give vague reasons, like personality, to hide gender discrimination.

Damages a plaintiff suing under the law is allowed: Retroactive pay for only the two previous years. No punitive damages, so no real deterrent for employers.

Disclosing your salary with fellow workers: Not protected. Currently, about 50 percent of private companies will fire you for doing so.

PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT

Acceptable reasons to paying women less than men: Seniority, merit, productivity — or a legitimate business reason, like having fewer credentials than a male colleague.

Damages a plaintiff suing under the law is allowed: Compensatory pay for two previous years (can include medical expenses or retirement benefits). Punitive damages allowed.

Disclosing your salary with fellow workers: Allows you to share salary and ask about pay policies, thus creating transparency.


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