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European Commission aims to reduce gender pay gap

European Commission aims to reduce gender pay gap
The European Commission plans to use a series of measures aimed at significantly reducing the pay gap between men and women over the next five years, including providing pay transparency and regular reporting on the pay gap, which currently stands at 18% in the EU.

The EU Commission is concerned that the gender pay gap – the average difference in gross hourly earnings between women and men across the economy as a whole – now stands at 18% for the EU, with considerable differences between countries and sectors. The Commission will use all available instruments, both legislative and non-legislative, to reduce the gender pay gap.

The Commission intend to analyse in detail the economic and social impact of certain options, together with the European social partners, in particular: (i) reporting the gender pay gap and ensuring transparency on pay at company and individual levels or collectively through information and consultation with workers;(ii) reinforcing the obligation to ensure gender neutral job classifications and pay scales; and (iii) improving the provisions on sanctions in case of a breach of the right to equal pay, to ensure that they are dissuasive and proportional (for instance, higher sanctions in a case of a repeated offence).

With new measures in the Equality Bill designed to toughen equal pay legislation, the issue seems destined to become very high profile in the latter part of 2010.

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