Kamala Harris vs. the gender pay gap
Kamala Harris. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Kamala Harris wants to use the power of the presidency to close the gender pay gap.
Driving the news: Her new proposal: Use executive action to ensure federal contractors act first, then get Congress to fine big companies 1% of profits for every 1% of pay gap.
- Past federal legislation put the burden on employees to sue or report their employers if gender-based pay discrimination was suspected.
The big picture: While other 2020 Democrats have talked about unequal pay or more transparency from companies, Harris' proposal is the most concrete.
Details: Legislative action would be required to impose her policy on private corporations.
- Companies with 100+ employees would have to obtain an “equal pay certification” every two years from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Companies would have to prove pay gaps for similar jobs are based on something other than gender.
- This policy could generate $180 billion in 10 years, Harris' campaign estimates.
- That revenue would be spent on paid family and medical leave programs.
What they're saying: “Closing the wage gap would mean tens of millions for women and their families," Vicki Shabo, a senior fellow at nonpartisan think tank New America, told HuffPost.
- "It could wipe out student loan debt, give relief to homeowners, and literally put food on the table. It’s something that can help stimulate the economy.”
- Yes, but: "Penalties tend to slow compliance and undermine the goals that they seek to achieve," said Joseph Vaughan, executive director of Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Forum, a trade group. "I'm always concerned when people introduce policies with punitive fines and penalties that it will never be enacted into law."
The bottom line: If things continue as is, women won't get equal pay until 2059.