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Kamala Harris announces plan to close gender pay gap

Los Angeles, May 21 (IANS) Democratic presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent, has announced a plan to close the gender pay gap by requiring larger companies to certify that men and women were paid equally.

Unlike previous federal legislation regarding the pay gap, which asked workers to report or sue their employer if discrepancies were suspected, Harris’s plan would pro-actively force companies with 100 or more employees to obtain an “equal pay certification” every two years, showing that they were paying men and women the same for analogous work, The New York Times quoted her campaign as saying on Monday.

The plan is the third major policy proposal of Harris’s presidential campaign, and a continuation of her focus on economic issues. 

As a senator and a candidate she has proposed using federal power to raise teacher pay, a slew of executive actions on gun control and the LIFT Act, her signature policy, which would provide a refundable tax credit worth up to $6,000 for households.

The most recent studies on gender pay gap show that women who work full time make 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, adding up to more than $400,000 in missed wages over the course of a woman’s career, according to an analysis by the Washington-based National Women’s Law Center. 

The numbers were even worse for women who are also racial minorities – about $1 million in missed wages over a career for Latinas, Native American and black women.

Under Harris’s proposal, companies that do not meet the pay certification standards would be fined 1 per cent of their profits for every 1 per cent difference in pay between men and women. 

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