During a campaign event in New York on Sunday night, Harris laid out her plan to go after businesses that do not pay women the same as they pay men.
Watch Harris’s speech:
In America today, women are paid 80 cents on the dollar. It is an outrage and has to change. Tomorrow, I will announce a plan to close the pay gap and hold corporations accountable. There will be penalties if they don’t. pic.twitter.com/TI5MDCRsNL
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 20, 2019
“I am going to announce the first-ever national priority on closing that pay gap and holding corporations accountable for transparency and closing that gap. You will see the announcement tomorrow and there will be penalties if they don’t.”
Harris’ plan includes transparency measures that would forbid companies from asking about salary history, ban forced arbitration agreements for pay disparity disputes, and force employers to allow open discussion about personal wages between coworkers.
Companies would have to open their payroll up for investigation by the federal government. If a disparity is found between employees of different genders, it is on the business to prove in court that there is a significant difference in merit or seniority.
As promised, Harris’ plan doesn’t back away from penalties for companies. Businesses would be forced to disclose all wage payments to the federal government and would be fined 1% of their profits for each percent of a wage gap that exists. The money taken from companies would go to fund Harris’ paid family leave proposal.
Harris claimed this plan shifts the burden of ensuring wage equality from women to businesses.
Critics of the plan, however, claim Harris is fighting a problem that doesn’t exist. As IJR previously reported, the wage gap, when adjusted for things like position, seniority, location, and hours worked, is only two cents on the dollar — not the often-quoted 80 cents on the dollar.
As the World Economic Forum found, that the 2% wage gap doesn’t stem from a nefarious plan to underpay women. Instead, researchers found that women were less likely to ask for promotions or raises than men.
Some claimed Harris’ plan to comb the finances of a business to analyze the payroll of a company is government overreach into personal wage agreements between the employee and the employer.
Required to report "total pay and total compensation gap that exists between men and women, regardless of job titles, experience and performance."
Those things seem somewhat important. How many Dem Congressional offices would show a large pay gap using that standard? https://t.co/czDxG4pGMv
— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) May 20, 2019
There is no way Democrats would be able to mouth off this lie over & over again if the media weren’t their lapdogs. https://t.co/I2Da3ahMgt
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) May 20, 2019
She would fine companies? This kind of intrusive big government bullshit may be popular with the Democrat base, but it's just plain wrong. https://t.co/GMzoYy0S0S
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) May 20, 2019
Harris is one of 23 Democrats in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary hoping to take on President Donald Trump for his seat in the Oval Office.