Four years ago today, in a critical and necessary step to combat pay discrimination, President Obama made the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the first bill he signed into law. It rightfully restored women’s ability to challenge unlawful discrimination by making it clear that the time limit for filing a claim resets with each discriminatory paycheck. It was an important step toward fair pay for America’s women.
Four years later, we are asking the president to take the next step by issuing an executive order that will allow employees of federal contractors to discuss pay without retaliation. Nearly half of workers in this country are currently prohibited or discouraged from talking about pay with their coworkers, just as Lilly Ledbetter was. As a result, it is nearly impossible to identify and challenge pay discrimination — and employers have little incentive to comply with the law.
With an executive order, the administration can set an example for the nation’s employers, ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to perpetuate unlawful pay discrimination, and send a clear signal to Congress that it is time to prioritize legislation aimed at reducing the wage gap — like the recently introduced Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act.
The wage gap results in thousands of dollars in lost income for America’s women and families each year. It hurts women, their families and our economy. In his second inaugural speech last week, the president laid out a clear vision for an America where our nation’s ‘wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.’ It is time for the administration and Congress to take action to advance that vision.”