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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release April 2, 1998
                     FOR LEGISLATION ON EQUAL PAY

               Also Announces Administration Initiatives 
                     to Combat Wage Discrimination

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore today announced the Administration's support for legislation, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Congresswomen DeLauro, to improve enforcement of wage discrimination against women and to strengthen the remedy provisions in the Equal Pay Act to allow for compensatory and punitive damages.

In a White House ceremony, the Vice President also announced new initiatives that would enhance enforcement of wage discrimination both in the private sector and the federal government.

The price of unequal pay is denying our children adequate health care, keeping our kids from going to college and stopping thousands of women across the country from paying their bills, Vice President Gore said. And that is why President Clinton and I are committed to closing the wage gap between women and men and giving women the pay they need and deserve.

The Vice President's announcements came a day before Equal Pay Day, the date when women's earnings finally catch up to men's 1997 earnings. On average, women are paid 74 cents for every dollar men earn -- forcing women to work for 15 months to earn what men earn in 12 months. To address this inequality, more than 650 Equal Pay Day activities will be held across the country.

The Administration's new initiatives will provide increased analysis of data on the wage gap; help federal agencies enforce wage discrimination law; provide technical assistance by highlighting best practices and offering a voluntary self-audit on the Internet; and strengthen the federal role in hiring and retaining qualified women.

Specifically, the Vice President announced two Memoranda of Understanding between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor to cross-train their staffs to be sensitive to potential violations of the laws they enforce, including the Equal Pay Act, and to help the Department of Labor to collect damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Also, the Vice President announced a ten-step voluntary self-audit for both private businesses and the federal agencies in order to help them monitor their efforts on equal pay. Finally, the Vice President will announce the Guide to Recruitment and Retention of Women in the federal government, a manual designed to assist agency managers hire and retain talented women.

The Vice President was joined by Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, AFL-CIO Vice President Linda Chavez Thompson, National Committee Pay Equity Chair Susan Bianchi Sands, Senator John Breaux (D-LA), Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE), Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL), Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Chuck Robb (D-VA), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Jim Maloney (D-CT), Rep. David Obey (D-WI), Rep. Robert Underwood (D-GUAM).