Tuesday, January 6 was the first day of the 111th Congress and pay legislation - in the form of the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - was scheduled for vote yesterday, January 7.
I had the opportunity to speak with Cara Welch, head of public policy for WorldatWork, to learn a little more about this legislation and what we as HR and reward professionals can do to keep up on the status of both acts.
Regular readers of this blog know that I have particular concerns about the Paycheck Fairness Act and its implications for (and beyond) compensation management. Most specifically, I am troubled by the comparable worth provisions in the original bill and the potential consequences of mandating this as the cornerstone of work valuation in the private sector.
A few quick highlights from my conversation with Cara Welch –
AB: What is the current status of this pay legislation?
CW: The House is not planning to hold any hearings on these bills. We believe the bills will go straight to the floor for a vote, where passage is expected. If they are passed in the House, though, they will still need to make it through the Senate. That is not expected to happen this week. There is a lot more concern about this legislation in the Senate, and it is expected that members there will be slower and more deliberate in their consideration of the bills.
AB: How can interested HR and reward professionals best keep track of this pay legislation as it goes forward?
CW: One way is through my blog, Public Policy Perceptions, which is a public blog and open to all, not just WorldatWork members. I will be posting regular updates and providing links to related information and documents – all of which will be publicly available.
AB: What about the comparable worth provisions in the Paycheck Fairness Act? I hear that they’ve been removed. Is this true?
CW: The comparable worth provisions which were in the original PFA were removed and are not part of the bill being considered today. <Note from Ann: While I see that the overt comparable worth provisions have been removed in comparing the current to an earlier version of the bill, there is still language included that concerns me - including use of the terminology "similarly situated employees" for purposes of compliance and enforcement activities. Cara is looking into the comparable worth issues further.>
AB: What is WorldatWork’s role with respect to this pay legislation?
CW: On legislation which touches the areas of employee rewards, WorldatWork will often collect information and conduct research, which is made available for consideration by lawmaking bodies. At this time, WorldatWork does not have a formal public policy committee and does not take formal positions with respect to legislation.
I will continue to follow this legislation, particularly the Paycheck Fairness Act, and will post updates and information here as appropriate. I would urge readers to check out Cara's blog as an avenue for keeping abreast of developments ... note that I have added her to my blogroll at right. Ryan Johnson, WorldatWork's Director of Information Development & Public Affairs, whose blog is also 'rolled here, will be commenting on the legislation from time to time as well. And while I'm at it, other recent posts worth checking out on this topic can be found at HR Observations and the Pennsylvania Labor & Employment Blog.
Thanks, Cara for your time and the update here!
Image: Creative Commons Photo "Capital Hill, Washington DC" by Will Palmer