The proposed European Union law aims to correct the gender wage gap


The European Union has pushed member states to address salary disparities between men and women, and the European Union on Thursday unveiled details of a proposed law requiring companies to disclose gender pay gaps and giving job candidates access to salary information in employment interviews. It will be so Providing women with better tools to fight for equal pay.

This move comes as workers all over the world It has been disproportionately affected by the economic fallout of the Coronavirus crisis, and it may lead to the imposition of sanctions on companies That does not comply.

The proposed law would enable women to verify whether they are being fairly compensated in comparison to Male colleagues. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, wants to provide workers with the ability to seek appropriate compensation in the event of discrimination.

Under the proposed law, those who believe they are victims can take action through independent monitors to comply with equal pay requirements. They can also lobby gender-based wage complaints through worker representatives, either as individuals or in groups.

“For equal pay, you need transparency,” said Ursula von der Leyen, commission chairperson, who has pledged to make wage transparency binding. After taking office in December 2019. “Women should know if their employers are treating them fairly. And when this is not the case, they should have the ability to resist and get what they deserve.”

Although the principle of equal pay for equal work is theoretically one of the founding values ​​of the 27-nation European Union, the difference in salaries for men and women doing the same work is 14.1 per cent, and the difference in pensions is 30 per cent, the commission said. according to European Institute for Gender Equality, A research group, female managers are paid a quarter less than directors.

Despite numerous efforts to enforce pay equality in practice, for more than 60 years it has seemed out of reach for women across the bloc, which presents itself as a beacon of human rights and equality. So far, only 10 European countries, including Austria, Germany, Italy and Sweden, have introduced national legislation on wage transparency.

The proposed law at the level of the European Union requires the approval of the member states and the European Parliament. There are concerns that it might be banned by national governments, as happened with the European Commission’s proposal to iIntroducing gender quotas on boards of directors. Wary of these potential hurdles, Vera Gorova, the bloc’s chief values ​​and transparency officer, described the wage proposal as “purely pragmatic and good economic calculations,” stressing that gender equality at work benefits companies.

“We see very limited appetites from some member states, and it is surprising that those that have already introduced such measures,” said Ms. Gorova. “What gives me hope is that this is urgently needed.”

Companies with more than 250 workers will have to publicly disclose the gender wage gap, reflecting concern about smaller organizations, which have suffered a serious economic blow from the coronavirus.

“I understand that this proposal in times of economic downturn and uncertainty caused by the pandemic may seem inappropriate to some,” said Helena Daly, the bloc’s commissioner for equality, stressing that the law was “duly proportionate.”

Under the bill, national governments will be obligated to punish companies that violate equal pay measures. The Commission said that governments can decide which sanctions are imposed, including financial sanctions, which must be effective and proportionate.

The suggestion comes as researchers warn that the virus could significantly delay a woman’s advancement in the workplace. according to Women in Work Index 2020Collected annually across 33 developed countries by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consulting firm, the economic damage from the pandemic, as well as the fallout from government policies, is disproportionately affecting women. This has reversed the continuing trend of women’s earnings in employment and led to what the consulting firm calls a “profession”.

Women’s rights groups welcomed the commission’s initiative. “Information is power: pay transparency will enable employees to know the value of their work and negotiate salaries accordingly,” said Karlene Schell, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality. “This should help tackle discrimination in the workplace, which can only be a boon to gender equality.”

Employers, who were aware of the potential legal and economic implications of the proposal, were cautious in their assessment, blaming what they described as the deeper underlying causes of gender inequality.

“Reasonable requirements about pay transparency could be part of the answer,” said Marcus J. Pierer, president of BusinessEurope, a lobbying group. “However, the key to improving gender equality is to address the root causes of inequality, especially gender stereotypes, labor market segregation, and inadequate provision of childcare.”

Mr. Perrier said that the committee should respect the “competencies of the national social partners” and not “overburden the human resource management and open the way to unjustified litigation.”

According to Ms. Gorova, “hard rules” are required, not just reliance on social responsibility that you assume Companies. “We see it doesn’t lead anywhere,” she said.

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