California Democrat 2020 candidate Kamala Harris released a plan Monday to fine companies that don’t meet “equal pay certification” status.
Harris’ campaign billed the plan as “The most aggressive equal pay proposal in history.” If elected, Harris would not wait for her plan to pass through Congress, rather she would “take executive action herself.”
“Companies will be required to obtain an ‘Equal Pay Certification’ and prove they’re not paying women less than men for work of equal value,” the plan states and compared to a law passed in Iceland.
The presidential contender cited in her plan a simplistic National Partnership for Women and Families analysis which compared general, nationwide median annual pay for a women to that for a man to come up with an 80 cent on the dollar wage gap. The figure ignored comparison between men and women in equal positions. It rather makes a blanket, nonspecific comparison neglecting the type of job held. The only designation considered and noted is that the comparison is made among full-time, year-round jobs.
Harris makes the argument that her plan would transfer the burden to prove wage discrimination or lack thereof from the employee to the employer.
Companies that fail to meet Harris’ equal pay standards will be fined based on average wage gap. “For every 1% gap that exists after accounting for differences in job titles, experience, and performance, companies will be fined at 1% of their average daily profits during the last fiscal year,” Harris’ plan states. “We estimate the plan will generate roughly $180 billion over 10 years, with revenue decreasing over time as strong equal pay practices become part of corporate culture.”
Specifically the plan states:
“Companies with 100 or more employees will be required to obtain Equal Pay Certification from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within three years of enactment, and every two years thereafter. Companies with 500 or more employees will have two years from enactment to certify.
“Companies seeking federal contracts would be disadvantaged in or barred from competing for those contracts if they don’t obtain Harris’ pay certification.
“Companies will be required to disclose whether they are ‘Equal Pay Certified’ on the homepage of their websites and to prospective employees,” the plan states. Further, public companies would be required to include the status of certification in their annual report.
Going even further, the plan would “overhaul anti-discrimination laws and expand investigations of complaints” to ensure they are covered under the Title VII of Civil Rights Act.
Fines collected under the plan will be used in part for EEOC enforcement.