Senator Kamala Harris proposed an ambitious plan on Monday to tackle the gender pay gap—by fining companies that pay men more than women.
Under the California senator’s proposal, companies with 100 or more employees would need to obtain an “equal pay certification” every two years to prove that they are paying women and men equally for equal work.
Currently, women who work full time make 80 cents for every dollar that men with full-time jobs make, according to recent studies (which aren’t based on analogous work); the numbers are even more grim for women who are racial minorities.
Companies that don’t meet the requirements would be fined 1 percent of their profits for every 1 percent difference in pay, according to the senator’s proposal.
“For too long, we’ve put the burden entirely on workers to hold corporations accountable for pay discrimination through costly lawsuits that are increasingly difficult to prove,” she said in the announcement of the plan on Monday. “We’ve let corporations hide their wage gaps, but forced women to stand up in court just to get the pay they’ve earned.”
The plan is the latest of several major policy proposals of the senator’s presidential campaign. She has proposed heavily investing federal money in teacher pay, enacting a refundable tax credit of up to $6,000 for households, and taking executive actions on gun safety.
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