Small businesses often hire from within the communities in which they operate. Because of this, most business owners are eager to pay their workers both fairly and well. However, the recently introduced Paycheck Fairness Act might be confusing for some people in Wisconsin. Here is what owners should understand how this statute will impact small business law.
The 1963 Equal Pay Act was an amendment made to the Fair Labor Standards Act. That amendment made it illegal to pay male and female workers differently for performing otherwise equal work. Wage compensation based on merit systems, seniority, quantity or quality of production and additional factors not related to sex were not affected by this amendment.
The Paycheck Fairness Act aims to further close the pay gap between men and women while also strengthening protections for equal pay. If passed, it would prevent employers from making rules that do not allow employees to discuss wages, which would make it easier for women to discover if they are being paid differently than their male co-workers. Employers would also have to disclose salary information with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and would ban hiring officers from inquiring about salary histories.
The current bill for the Paycheck Fairness Act did not pass the Senate back in 2009. However, it was reintroduced and passed by the House in March 2019. Although the Senate has not taken action on the bill yet, it is important for employers in Wisconsin to understand the potential effects on small business law and their compensation practices.