Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik introduced a bill Tuesday meant to bolster equal pay laws and protections across the country.
The bill, modeled off of state-level legislation that has received bipartisan support, is also meant to serve as a Republican answer to equal pay protection backed by Democrats in Congress.
The measure is meant to encourage businesses to undergo a voluntary pay analysis in order to identify pay disaprities, creates a grant program to help women to learn how to negotiate for better pay and allows employees to voluntarily disclose prior salary history.
The proposal is also meant to protect the ability of workers to discuss pay with their colleages, but employers would be able to set limits on time, location and how those discussions are held.
And the bill would would provide protections to employers' ability to discuss salary expectation with prosepctive employees.
The Government Accountability Office would be directed to study the causes of the time spent between women leaving the workforce for family reasons.
“The Wage Equity Act is a practical, 21st century solution to achieve equal pay for equal work once and for all by empowering businesses and employees to work together in pursuit of this common goal,” Stefanik said. “The Democrats’ alternative legislation would pave the way for frivolous lawsuits and unnecessary burdens on businesses, including those owned and operated by women themselves.”
Stefanik, a North Country lawmaker, is also considering a run for governor in 2022.