Equal Pay Day
In addition to being Faiths Calling day, and the 14th day of the Omer, today is Equal Pay Day – the day in which women’s wages finally catch up to what men earned during the previous calendar year. New Years Day may feel like a long time ago, but three and a half months is exactly how long it’s taken for women – who earn on average only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men – to make what men made in the 2012 calendar year.
In response to this important, though depressing, day RAC Associate Director Barbara Weinstein released the following statement:
“Today marks Equal Pay Day, the date each year on which an average woman’s earnings catch up to what her male counterpart received by the end of the previous year. It seems incredible that there continues to be a need to mark this day, fifty years after passage of the Equal Pay Act. Yet women today still make an average of only 77 cents for every dollar earned by male workers.
The ongoing lack of pay equity offends us as Jews and as moral people who believe in the fundamental equality between men and women and the dignity of work and fair compensation. We are taught in Leviticus (19:13), “You shall not defraud your neighbor” and in Deuteronomy (24:14-15) “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer,” but you must “pay him his wages on the same day, for he is needy and urgently depends on it.” Those biblical lessons continue to inspire us to act to end this offensive and persistent disparity in pay.
Now is the time for congressional and presidential action. Enacting the Paycheck Fairness Act will deter pay discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and bar retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. And President Obama can also address this issue through an executive order banning federal contractors from firing or otherwise retaliating against workers who share salary information and wage practices. The President has repeatedly voiced his support for fair pay; now is the time to fulfill this commitment with firm action on this crucial issue.
Women are the primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of American households. Pay disparity touches families across the country. It diminishes the ability to meet basic needs and diminishes the ability to live up to our nation’s highest aspirations of justice and equality. All workers deserve to be paid fairly for the job they perform, regardless of gender. We urge Congress and the President to recognize this reality, and take the necessary steps to repair this injustice.”