5 Real Things You Should Know about the Paycheck Fairness Act

The liberal political website Think Progress has posted a new blog titled “5 Things You Should Know About the Paycheck Fairness Act.” As a supporter of the bill, Annie-Rose Strasser writes that:

1. The Paycheck Fairness Act is not new
2. Pay Equity is a real problem
3. Lost Earnings have serious consequences
4. Existing law doesn’t go far enough
5. Mitt Romney has not taken a position on the bill

Click here to see her more detailed post.

It’s true that the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) is not new and Mitt Romney has not taken a clear public position on the bill but the rest of her points are simply misleading. As a woman who is strongly opposed to the Paycheck Fairness Act, I decided to make my own list on what you should really know about the Paycheck Fairness Act:

1. The Wage Gap is Due to Individual Choices Made by Women, Not Discrimination.

Strasser writes that, “overall, women make 77 cents to a man’s dollar.” This oft-repeated statistic is entirely misleading because it neglects occupation and education. It just compares the median wage for a wage-earning female with the median wage for a wage-earning male. On average, women do earn less than men but that’s mostly because of individual choices.

Men and women tend to be interested in different career choices. Men are more likely to choose highly lucrative college majors such as engineering and computer science. On the other hand, women are more likely to choose lower-paying majors such as education, English, and psychology.

Women are also more likely to choose safer and more flexible jobs. Studies show that women enter and leave the workforce at a much higher rate than men. Men are more likely to have dangerous jobs, high stress jobs, work longer hours, and travel more for work.

2. The Wage Gap Disappears When Comparing Apples to Apples.

When you compare apples to apples, the so-called wage gap disappears. Actually, the wage gap swings the other way: men are paid less than their female counterparts on average. The average salary for a female mechanical engineer is $61,100 a year, while for males it’s $60,400. Young, childless, single urban women earn 8 percent more than their male counterparts. Women who have never had a child earn 113 percent of what men earn. Unmarried college-educated males between the ages of 40 and 64 earn nearly 15 percent less than their female counterparts.

3. It is Already Illegal to Discriminate against Women in the Workplace.

The PFA is completely unnecessary. The 1963 Equal Pay Act already bans sex discrimination in the workplace. We need fewer laws, not more. This bill is less about stopping female discrimination and more about benefiting trial lawyers.

 4. The PFA Would Expose Small Businesses to Frivolous Lawsuits.

The PFA would be a gift to trial lawyers. It would require the federal government to collect information on workers’ pay classified by race and sex. The PFA would make it much easier for any person to file a frivolous class-action lawsuit with punitive damages against employers. It would enrich trial lawyers since damage awards would be uncapped under the PFA.

5. The PFA Could Increase Female Unemployment.

The PFA raises the liability employers’ face when hiring women. The bill could have the unintended consequence of actually hurting the same people it was supposedly trying to help. It could lead to employers hiring fewer women due to fear of costly frivolous lawsuits. The last thing we need is a law that makes employers hesitant about employing women.