Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris is pushing for a huge shift in the way that women are paid. On Monday, the junior senator from California rolled out a new policy proposal that would hold corporations accountable for closing the pay gap in America.
“It’s not right that young women need to work more hours to pay off their student debt,” read the press release announcing the policy. “It’s not right that new mothers are penalized for taking time off to care for their children. It’s not right that women retirees have less security and accumulated wealth after working their entire careers. It’s not right that the wage gap has barely budged this entire century.”
In order to push the needle closer to equity, Harris proposes that corporations be required to obtain an “Equal Pay Certification” in which they prove that men and women at their company are being paid equally. This will also require that jobs disclose their pay policies and ban them from asking about prior salary during the hiring process.
To ensure that women are also being promoted to leadership positions, Harris is introducing a requirement for companies to report the number of women in leadership positions, as well as the number of women who rank among the top earners within the company. The reporting will also be broken down by race and ethnicity to help address discrepancies based on skin color.
For companies that do not comply or allow a wage gap to persist, Harris proposes a penalty on their profits. “Under our plan, companies that fail to receive “Equal Pay Certification” will face a fine for every day they discriminate against their workers,” the policy announcement reads.
“This fine will be assessed based on a company’s average wage gap for work of equal value. For every 1 percent gap that exists after accounting for differences in job titles, experience, and performance, companies will be fined at 1 percent of their average daily profits during the last fiscal year.”
Harris hopes that the plan will expand on anti-discrimination practices already in place and properly compensate women after years of discriminatory pay. Read Harris’ full proposal here.