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Senate Democrats in June will take up legislation that establishes federal grants to train girls and women to improve their salary negotiation skills.

The legislation would also require the collection of data from companies on how they pay people to better enforce federal fair-pay laws.

Before leaving for the Memorial Day break, Senate Democrats scheduled a procedural vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act for June 5. The bill, S. 3220 from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), is a Democratic effort to counter what they say is a Republican “war on women,” and appears to be an attempt to keep that issue in the forefront of political discussion as the November elections approach.

To overcome these ongoing disparities, the bill authorizes a new program under which the Secretary of Labor can make federal grants to entities that “carry out negotiation skills training programs for girls and women.” Eligible entities are state or local governments, or private non-profit or community-based organizations.

“The training provided through the program shall help girls and women strengthen their negotiation skills to allow the girls and women to obtain higher salaries and rates of compensation that are equal to those paid to similarly situated male employees,” the bill says.

The legislation does not specify how much grant money can be handed out by the Secretary of Labor, although it authorizes $15 million to implement the entire bill.

The bill would also amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to assess the data it has on how much people are paid, and to identify other possible sources of data that could be used to implement fair-pay laws. Once that work is done, the Commission would be required to “issue regulations to provide for the collection of pay information data from employers as described by the sex, race, and national origin of employees.”

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