|Issue of the Day: Equal Pay, Unequal Poverty|
Published Thursday, February 5th, 2009
The first piece of legislation that President Obama signed was a bill called the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which relaxed the workers’ rights to sue by relaxing the statute of limitation to 6 months from every time a worker gains a paycheck. Lily’s law came from the battle she experienced from suing her former employer for years of back pay from when she was paid less than her male colleges. The lower courts agreed with her, but as the case went to the Supreme Court, it was overturned and Lily only got 6 months back pay from the last check she received. During Bush’s term, Congress launched an unsuccessful bill that would overturn the Court’s decision. Bush’s reasoning pointed to inciting more lawsuits and a potential for employees to wait and pile up rewards before filing suit. The resurgence of bipartisan support for the bill has indicated the belief on both sides in the need for such legislation.
The hope for this bill is that it will try to correct the tendency of women to be paid less than their male counterparts, as well as to be disproportionately impoverished. For every race except Asian, the percentage of those female heads of households who experience poverty is double their male counterparts and triple married couples.