Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 7, the landmark Paycheck Fairness Act, to strengthen and close loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act.  The legislation provides effective remedies for women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work, including victims of payment discrimination on the basis of sex.
“Pay inequity isn’t only a women’s issue,” said Rep. Greg Stanton, who co-sponsored the legislation. “It’s an issue that affects families, children and our economy as a whole. In two-thirds of American families today, women are the primary or co-breadwinners—when they get paid what they deserve, our entire community will win.”  
The poverty rate for children with a working mother would be cut by nearly half if women were paid the same as men with equal skill sets and experience, lifting 2.5 million children out of poverty, according to research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. [Source]
Among its key provisions, the Paycheck Fairness Act
  • Bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages;
  • Requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reason. In doing so, it ensures that employers who try to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must show the disparity is not sex-based, but job-related and necessary; 
  • Ensures women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to discrimination based on race and ethnicity; and
  • Prohibits employers from relying on salary history in determining future pay, so that discrimination does not follow women job to job.
The vote came just a few days ahead of Equal Pay Day, April 2, which marks how far into the year it takes for women’s wages to catch up to what men were paid in the previous year.
Five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, a woman still earns only 80 cents on average for every dollar earned by her male counterpart. That gap is felt even more significantly by women of color. Compared to white men, Black women are paid 63 cents, Native American women are paid 57 cents, and Latina women are paid 54 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. [Source
Full text of the legislation is available here.