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H.R. 7: Paycheck Fairness Act


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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 5, 2021.


Paycheck Fairness Act

This bill addresses wage discrimination on the basis of sex, which is defined to include sex stereotypes, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.

Specifically, it limits an employer's defense that a pay differential is based on a factor other than sex to only bona fide job-related factors in wage discrimination claims, enhances nonretaliation prohibitions, and makes it unlawful to require an employee to sign a contract or waiver prohibiting the employee from disclosing information about the employee's wages. The bill also increases civil penalties for violations of equal pay provisions.

Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs must train EEOC employees and other affected parties on wage discrimination. The bill directs the Department of Labor to (1) establish and carry out a grant program for negotiation skills training for girls and women, (2) conduct studies to eliminate pay disparities between men and women, and (3) make available information on wage discrimination to assist the public in understanding and addressing such discrimination. The bill also establishes the National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace for an employer who has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. Finally, the bill requires the EEOC to issue regulations for collecting from employers compensation and other employment data according to the sex, race, and national origin of employees for use in enforcing laws prohibiting pay discrimination.