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这项法案有助于缩小男女收入差距,但参议院却不通过

Toni Van Pelt 2019年08月29日

美国的男女同工不同酬现象依然?#29616;兀?#31435;法的道路仍旧漫长。

在过去二十多年里的每次国会会议上,我们都能够见到薪资公平法案(Paycheck Fairness Act)的身影。今年3月,它终于得到美国众议院的通过,并引发了热议。这项温和的法案可以修补1963年同工同酬法(Equal Pay Act)的漏洞,强化保护机制以确保女性得到公正平等的收入。然而直到今年夏末的妇女平权日(Women’s Equality Day)这天,它依然被参议院搁置着。

美国发展中心(Center for American Progress)的数据显示,就在法案通过众议院之后的100天里,全职女性的收入就比男性低了1,590亿美元。这些收入本可以帮助女?#38498;?#23478;庭支付房租、儿童看护和医疗卫生的费用,并对美国的经济发展做出贡献。

根据非营利组织全国妇女和家庭伙伴(National Partnership for Women and Families)对普查数据的分析,整体来看,女性?#30007;?#36164;水平只有男性的80%。有色女性的情况更加糟糕。例如,美国妇女政策研究所(Institute for Women’s Policy Research, IWPR)的数据显示,西裔女性的收入只有白人男性的62%,西裔男性的86%。黑人女性的境况仅是?#38498;?#19968;点:收入为白人男性的65%,黑人男性的89%。

这种差异性在所有职业中都有体现。尽管人?#24378;?#33021;认为低收入员工面临的压力最大,但根据美国妇女政策研究所的数据,“2018年收入性别差异最大的职业是‘证券、商品和金融服务销售人员’;这些职业的全职女性的每周收入中位数仅有同等岗位男性的63.9%。”

重男轻女的劳动就业制度对女性经?#20204;?#21147;的影响贯穿一生,而收入差异正是这一制度下明目张胆存在的不公正的遗?#23613;?#23427;致使女性退休之后收入减少,导致女性负债率提高。最近对银行和投资应用程序Stash超过50万用户的调查甚至发现,女性支付的银行?#20013;?#36153;也更高,Stash的首席执行官认为工资差距可能是原因之一。

这就是为何我们亟需薪资公平法案。该法案于20年前由议员罗莎·德劳罗在议会提出,旨在从四个重要方面帮助解决薪酬差异问题。首先,它禁止雇主根据薪酬历史来决定提供?#30007;?#27700;。目前,如果某位女性在之前的工作中所得报酬过低,那么她在剩余职业生涯中可能还会继续遭遇这种情况。

第二,法案保护员工不会因为与同事讨论薪水而受到惩罚,也禁止雇主因为员工分享薪水信息而将其开除。这?#20013;?#20026;往往是大部分女性发现薪酬差距的唯一途径,因为一般情况下雇主都不会透露薪酬情况。

第三,法案要求雇主证明任何现存的男女薪酬差异都是因为业务需要并与工作相关,从而确保同工同酬。

第四,法案将更新同工同酬法下有关集体诉讼的规定,薪酬歧视案件中的团体?#31245;?#20250;自动被视为集体诉讼者,除非他们选择退出。美国律师协会(American Bar Association)表示:“这一调整会让人们更容易抵制基于性别的制度性薪酬歧视,并为所有因此受到伤害的人提供救济。”

这些基本条款将为雇主提供需要遵循的重要标准,有助于为女性发现和应对薪酬不平等营造安全环境,缓解她们对于遭到惩罚的担忧。

在多次民意测验中,对薪酬平等的支持都占据了压倒?#26434;?#21183;。然而,参议院依旧止步不前。

据彭博法律(Bloomberg Law)报道,有11个州试图解决这一?#32622;媯?#23427;们出台了法律来应对薪酬差异和歧视问题。从有共和党倾向的阿拉巴马州到有民主党倾向的纽约州,推出的这些法律都禁止在招聘时询问对方薪酬历史,并保护那些分享薪酬信息的员工免受惩罚。尽管?#21496;?#20540;得赞美,却无法取代能够对所有公司(包括跨国企业)提出要求的有力国家标准。

制度性?#30007;?#37228;歧视必须在我们的文化中得到遏制。美国全国妇女组织(NOW)号召公众呼吁参议员共同推举薪资公平法案,与法案坚定地站在一边,促成参议员的全体投票。我们不应阻止女性员工全面参与到职场和经济中来。参议院是时候落实这项?#24179;?#21516;酬长达20年的法案,给全美国的劳动女性一个交待了。(财富中文网)

作者?#24515;帷?#33539;·佩尔特是美国全国妇女组织的主席。

译者:严匡正

Introduced in every session of Congress for more than 20 years, the bipartisan Paycheck Fairness Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives with much fanfare this March. This modest bill would close loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act and strengthen protections to ensure women are paid fairly and equally. Yet at the end of the summer, on Women’s Equality Day, it still sits dormant in the Senate.

In just 100 days after the bill passed the House, women working full time were paid $159 billion dollars less than men were, according to the Center for American Progress. Those are dollars that could help women and families pay for housing, child care, and health care and contribute to our country’s economic growth.

Overall, women take home just 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to a National Partnership for Women and Families analysis of census data. The news for women of color is even worse. For example, Hispanic women earn only 62% of what white men make and 86% of what Hispanic men make, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). And black women only make slightly more: 65% of white men’s earnings and 89% of black men’s earnings.

And the disparity occurs across all occupations. While people may assume that lower-wage employees face the highest burden, according to IWPR, “The occupation with the largest gender wage gap is ‘securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents’ in 2018; women’s median weekly earnings for full-time work in this occupation were just 63.9% of those of men’s.”

The wage gap is a blatantly unfair vestige of a patriarchal labor system that haunts women’s economic potential throughout their lives. It leads to decreased earnings once women reach retirement and contributes to higher rates of debt. A recent analysis of more than 500,000 users by the banking and investing app Stash even found that women pay a disproportionate amount of banking fees, with the Stash CEO pointing to the wage gap as a probable cause.

That is why we desperately need the Paycheck Fairness Act, which has been introduced in the House for two decades by Rep. Rosa DeLauro. The act would help address pay disparities in four very important ways. First, it will prohibit hirers from using salary history in determining salary offers. Currently, if a woman has been underpaid in a previous job, she is at risk of continuing to be underpaid through the rest of her career.

Second, the bill protects employees from retaliation for discussing salaries with their colleagues and precludes employers from firing employees for sharing information. This practice is often the only way most women can discover pay disparities, as wages are typically kept private by employers.

Third, the act will require employers to prove any pay disparities existing between men and women are a business necessity and job-related, therefore ensuring equal pay for equal work.

Fourth, the law will update class action lawsuit provisions under the Equal Pay Act so that class members in a wage discrimination case will automatically be considered part of the class unless they choose to opt out. According to the American Bar Association, “This change will make it easier to combat systemic sex-based wage discrimination and provide relief to all those who [sic] injured by it.”

These basic provisions would provide crucial standards for employers to follow and help to create safe spaces for women to discover and address paycheck inequities with less fear of retaliation.

Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for equal pay. Yet still the Senate will not move forward.

Eleven states are trying to pick up the slack, with laws seeking to address the wage gap and discrimination, reports Bloomberg Law. Many of these laws, occurring everywhere from red-state Alabama to blue-state New York, have bans on salary history questions in job applications and shield employees from retribution for sharing salaries. But while laudable, these efforts are no substitute for a strong national standard that would provide requirements for all businesses, including those operating in multiple states.

Systemic wage discrimination must end in our culture. NOW urges the public to stand in solidarity with the Paycheck Fairness Act by calling on their senators to co-sponsor the bill and demand a full Senate vote. We must stop blocking the full participation of female employees in the workplace and in the economy. It is time for the Senate to bring this bill’s 20-year journey for wage parity to a victorious conclusion for working women across the country.

Toni Van Pelt is the president of the National Organization for Women.

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