"Paycheck Fairness Act" Heavy-Handed and Ineffective

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 7, the “Paycheck Fairness Act.” Contrary to its name, this legislation represents a heavy-handed and ineffective attempt to address sex-based discrimination.

H.R. 7 is a disproportionate response to instances of wage discrimination. The draconian “enhanced enforcement” provisions of H.R. 7 would place the burden of proof on employers to justify their business decisions within a complex web of nebulous legal standards and requirements. Employers, even small businesses, who violate these new restrictions would be exposed to unlimited damages and/or class action suits.

This legislation constitutes a radical overreach of federal authority that would affect everything from hiring procedures to basic business practices, making it difficult for businesses to operate without fear of legal retribution. In turn, this would have a chilling effect on salary and hiring decisions by discouraging employers from rewarding employees for hard work and innovative practices, creating a less flexible workplace. In addition, employers would be subject to invasive data collection extending far beyond basic compensation information. H.R. 7’s overreach expands beyond the workplace to include $11 million in grants to provide negotiation skills training for girls and women and $4 million to create an award for pay equity in the workplace.

Though well-intended, H.R. 7 would not resolve lingering issues of pay discrimination, particularly when safeguards are already available under the Equal Pay and Fair Labor Standards Acts. Instead, under H.R. 7, women could be perceived as a legal liability, ultimately reducing employment opportunities. Rather than impose new regulations that increase the cost of doing business and kill jobs, Congress should remove barriers that limit prosperity for both men and women.

Roll call votes on H.R. 7 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.