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15 2022

Council and European Parliament reach provisional deal to close gender pay gap

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The Czech presidency and the European Parliament reached a provisional deal on pay transparency rules. The new EU law will empower women to enforce the principle of equal pay for equal work through a set of binding measures on pay transparency.

There is no doubt men and women deserve to be paid the same salary if they do the same job. But unfortunately this is still not the case so far. Today, we are making a big leap forward to close the gender pay gap. With this new pay transparency law we empower workers to enforce their right of equal pay for equal work. Marian Jurečka, Czech deputy prime minister and minister of labour and social affairs commented

Increased pay transparency

To avoid discrimination, employers have to make sure their employees have easy access to the objective and gender-neutral criteria they use to define pay and possible pay rises. Workers and their representatives will also have the right to request and receive information on their individual pay level and the average pay levels for workers doing the same work or work of equal value, broken down by sex. Employers also need to indicate the initial pay level or range to be paid to future workers.

Employers with more than 100 employees have to provide information about the pay gap between female and male workers in their organisation. Employers must share this information with their relevant national authority. They also need to provide this information to their workers and their representatives. The information is due annually or every three years, depending on the size of the company.

In cases where this pay reporting demonstrates a difference in average pay level between female and male workers of at least 5% and the employer has not justified this difference with objective and gender-neutral criteria, employers will have to conduct a joint pay assessment in cooperation with their workers' representatives. This joint pay assessment should include measures to remedy the unjustified pay differences.

Compensation and other remedies

Workers whose employer has not respected the equal pay principle obligations, have the right to claim compensation. Courts can also order an employer to stop the infringement and take measures to comply with the principle of equal pay.

Associations such as equality bodies or workers’ representatives may act on behalf of a worker or workers to enforce the equal pay principle.

Background

The right to equal pay for women and men for equal work or work of equal value is enshrined in the Treaty of Rome and has been fleshed out in additional legislative texts. But despite this legal framework, the effective implementation and enforcement of this principle in practice remains a challenge in the EU.

The gender pay gap in the EU stands at around 13%. This means that women earn on average 13% less than men per hour. There are a number of inequalities underlying this pay gap. Women are over-represented in relatively low-paying sectors such as care and education, the so-called glass ceiling leads to them being under-represented in top positions, and in some cases women are discriminated as they earn less than men for doing equal work or work of equal value.

Next steps

The proposal for this directive was presented by the European Commission on 4 March 2021 and the EU member states agreed their approach to the proposal on 6 December 2021. Negotiations with the European Parliament to agree on a common text were kicked-off in June 2022. The present agreement was reached during the 5th round of negotiations.

EU member states ambassadors will have to endorse the agreement which will be followed by the usual adoption process in the Council and European Parliament.

Source by Redazione


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