WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) voted to pass the two landmark worker protection bills led by members of the Connecticut delegation. The House passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, led by Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), and the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, led by Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02). Congresswoman Hayes also advocated for the passage of these bills in an Education and Labor Committee markup last month.
“These bills are critical to ensuring workers are protected from discrimination and violence in the workplace,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “As women have dropped out of the workforce in record numbers due to COVID-19, we must do all we can to ensure they are safe and fully compensated as they return. I am grateful to Representatives DeLauro and Courtney for their years-long advocacy on these issues and was happy to support the passage of their bills on the floor.”
Congresswoman Hayes’ remarks on the Paycheck Fairness Act can be seen here.
More than five decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a woman still makes only 82 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by her male counterpart. That gap is a persistent reality for women in the workforce, particularly women of color. Compared to white men, Black women are paid 63 cents, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women are paid 63 cents, American Indian or Alaska Native Women are paid 60 cents, and Hispanic women are paid 55 cents. The Paycheck Fairness Act helps address this persistent gender wage gap and guarantees women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable. Specifically, The Paycheck Fairness Act would:
- Require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons and not based on gender;
- Ban retaliation against workers who discuss their wages;
- Limit employers use of salary history of prospective employees;
- Create a negotiation and skills training program;
- Remove obstacles in the Equal Pay Act to allow workers to participate in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination; and
- Improve the Department of Labor’s (DOL) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that health care and social service workers were nearly five times as likely to suffer a serious workplace violence injury than workers in other sectors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the authority and responsibility to protect America’s caregivers from workplace violence, but it has not been given the basic tools to fulfill this mission. Congress must take action to adequately address this challenge. Specific, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers would:
- Compel OSHA to issue an interim final standard in one year and a final standard within 42 months requiring employers within the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan;
- Identify risks, specify solutions, and require training, reporting, and incident investigations. It would also provide protections from retaliation for reporting violent incidents; and
- Protect health care and social service workers in the public sector in the 24 states not covered by OSHA protections.
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Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.
Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.