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這項法案有助于縮小男女收入差距,但參議院卻不通過

Toni Van Pelt 2019年08月29日

美國的男女同工不同酬現象依然嚴重,立法的道路仍舊漫長。

在過去二十多年里的每次國會會議上,我們都能夠見到薪資公平法案(Paycheck Fairness Act)的身影。今年3月,它終于得到美國眾議院的通過,并引發了熱議。這項溫和的法案可以修補1963年同工同酬法(Equal Pay Act)的漏洞,強化保護機制以確保女性得到公正平等的收入。然而直到今年夏末的婦女平權日(Women’s Equality Day)這天,它依然被參議院擱置著。

美國發展中心(Center for American Progress)的數據顯示,就在法案通過眾議院之后的100天里,全職女性的收入就比男性低了1,590億美元。這些收入本可以幫助女性和家庭支付房租、兒童看護和醫療衛生的費用,并對美國的經濟發展做出貢獻。

根據非營利組織全國婦女和家庭伙伴(National Partnership for Women and Families)對普查數據的分析,整體來看,女性的薪資水平只有男性的80%。有色女性的情況更加糟糕。例如,美國婦女政策研究所(Institute for Women’s Policy Research, IWPR)的數據顯示,西裔女性的收入只有白人男性的62%,西裔男性的86%。黑人女性的境況僅是稍好一點:收入為白人男性的65%,黑人男性的89%。

這種差異性在所有職業中都有體現。盡管人們可能認為低收入員工面臨的壓力最大,但根據美國婦女政策研究所的數據,“2018年收入性別差異最大的職業是‘證券、商品和金融服務銷售人員’;這些職業的全職女性的每周收入中位數僅有同等崗位男性的63.9%。”

重男輕女的勞動就業制度對女性經濟潛力的影響貫穿一生,而收入差異正是這一制度下明目張膽存在的不公正的遺毒。它致使女性退休之后收入減少,導致女性負債率提高。最近對銀行和投資應用程序Stash超過50萬用戶的調查甚至發現,女性支付的銀行手續費也更高,Stash的首席執行官認為工資差距可能是原因之一。

這就是為何我們亟需薪資公平法案。該法案于20年前由議員羅莎·德勞羅在議會提出,旨在從四個重要方面幫助解決薪酬差異問題。首先,它禁止雇主根據薪酬歷史來決定提供的薪水。目前,如果某位女性在之前的工作中所得報酬過低,那么她在剩余職業生涯中可能還會繼續遭遇這種情況。

第二,法案保護員工不會因為與同事討論薪水而受到懲罰,也禁止雇主因為員工分享薪水信息而將其開除。這種行為往往是大部分女性發現薪酬差距的唯一途徑,因為一般情況下雇主都不會透露薪酬情況。

第三,法案要求雇主證明任何現存的男女薪酬差異都是因為業務需要并與工作相關,從而確保同工同酬。

第四,法案將更新同工同酬法下有關集體訴訟的規定,薪酬歧視案件中的團體成員會自動被視為集體訴訟者,除非他們選擇退出。美國律師協會(American Bar Association)表示:“這一調整會讓人們更容易抵制基于性別的制度性薪酬歧視,并為所有因此受到傷害的人提供救濟。”

這些基本條款將為雇主提供需要遵循的重要標準,有助于為女性發現和應對薪酬不平等營造安全環境,緩解她們對于遭到懲罰的擔憂。

在多次民意測驗中,對薪酬平等的支持都占據了壓倒性優勢。然而,參議院依舊止步不前。

據彭博法律(Bloomberg Law)報道,有11個州試圖解決這一局面,它們出臺了法律來應對薪酬差異和歧視問題。從有共和黨傾向的阿拉巴馬州到有民主黨傾向的紐約州,推出的這些法律都禁止在招聘時詢問對方薪酬歷史,并保護那些分享薪酬信息的員工免受懲罰。盡管此舉值得贊美,卻無法取代能夠對所有公司(包括跨國企業)提出要求的有力國家標準。

制度性的薪酬歧視必須在我們的文化中得到遏制。美國全國婦女組織(NOW)號召公眾呼吁參議員共同推舉薪資公平法案,與法案堅定地站在一邊,促成參議員的全體投票。我們不應阻止女性員工全面參與到職場和經濟中來。參議院是時候落實這項推進同酬長達20年的法案,給全美國的勞動女性一個交待了。(財富中文網)

作者托尼·范·佩爾特是美國全國婦女組織的主席。

譯者:嚴匡正

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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