Murkowski Cites Serious Flaws in Paycheck Fairness Act

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted against proceeding to the Paycheck Fairness Act, a partisan bill with serious flaws. Murkowski’s vote is consistent with her votes on this measure in previous Congresses.

“I’ve always been committed to fair pay and equal treatment under the law for all women, but this bill is not the solution. A good bill name doesn’t make it a good bill,” said Senator Murkowski. “This legislation allows unlimited compensatory and punitive awards, even if there is no proof of intentional discrimination. It would significantly limit the ability and discretion of employers to consider reasonable business reasons for salary decisions and places burdensome wage reporting requirements on businesses. Addressing the gender pay gap and holding employers accountable for gender discrimination must remain a priority, but the so called Paycheck Fairness Act is not the answer.”

Background on Senator Murkowski’s Efforts:

As a former member of the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, Senator Murkowski has long been a supporter of addressing the gender pay gap and ensuring we move toward a path where workers receive equal pay for equal work. Over the years, she has taken a number of actions to ensure progress toward pay equity and workplace fairness for women:

  • She was one of four Republican Senators who voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that amended the Civil Rights Act to increase worker protections against pay discrimination and empower women to identify and remedy paycheck discrimination.
  • In 2014 and 2015, she was an original co-sponsor of the End Pay Discrimination Through Information Act, which would have amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee who inquires or discusses about wages of the employee or another employee.
  • She was an original co-sponsor of the Workplace Advancement Act, which was offered as an amendment to the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2014.  This amendment would have prohibited retaliation against employees who discuss their wages, reinforced the current laws against pay discrimination, required employers to prominently post notices of employees’ rights under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act, and created a grant to support worker training for women and men underrepresented in industries that report worker shortages to get the skills they need to grow and compete.
  • In 2019, she introduced legislation that would reopen consideration of the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • In 2020, she signed on to a letter asking the Secretary of Labor to update research on gender-based wage disparity in order to provide policymakers with up-to-date, comprehensive, and accurate data on this subject. As that letter stated, “Gender-based discrimination is a wrong that our government has attempted to stop. If that effort is failing, we want to know. If there are clear factors behind existing wage disparities, which Congress could address, we want to learn more. Equal opportunity is a hallmark of the American dream that must be preserved.
  • On April 29, 2021, Senator Murkowski signed on as an original co-sponsor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, saying, “No employee should have to choose between keeping a job and their health or the health of their baby—it’s as simple as that. This bill will improve federal law by requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for expecting and new mothers and ensure that women are not discriminated against simply because of pregnancy or childbirth.”
  • On January 22, 2012, she introduced a resolution that would eliminate the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.