US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

The Role of States in Higher Education

Harkin Statement on Equal Pay Day

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement on Equal Pay Day, which falls on April 17th to mark the extra days a woman would have to work beyond 2011 and into 2012 to match the average wages of a man in 2011 alone.

“When women earn less than men for the same work, we all suffer. Millions of American families rely on women breadwinners to put food on the table, pay for child care and education, and cover other costs of living. The wage gap decreases the buying power of the average family, to the detriment of local economies all around our country. As we continue to dig out from the worst recession since the Great Depression, we need to do more to eliminate this disparity by ensuring that women and men are paid equally, and fairly, for a hard day’s work. That’s why the Rebuild America Act, a bill which I recently introduced, takes important steps like updating the minimum wage, allowing workers to earn paid sick days, expanding overtime pay, and strengthening retirement security that will help all workers support their families and ensure that women breadwinnders have an equal chance to build a middle class life.”

Harkin was a lead Senate sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009, and is an original cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act and the author of the Fair Pay Act. He is also the author of the Rebuild America Act, a bill that would create jobs and strengthen the middle class.

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