EU companies soon forced to be gender neutral

European companies employing more than 100 workers will soon have to disclose whether there is a gender pay gap in their workplace. It is one of the measures negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council have agreed on to tackle wage discrimination.

The principle that women and men should receive equal pay for equal work is enshrined in the European treaties but has, until now, been in name only On average, women in the European Union earn 13% less pay than men per hour. The new agreement to close the wage gap should address this.

Companies with at least 100 employees will have to clarify to the government (but also to employees and unions) how much men and women are paid in order to expose any possible pay gaps.

If there appears to be a gap of at least 5% that the employer cannot defend using objective and gender-neutral criteria, he will have to eliminate the gap. Regardless of possible gender discrimination, employers will be required to make clear how they determine their wages and possible pay increases.

The EU is aiming to end the secrecy around wages and gender discrimination. If the current reading of the draft passes, salary ranges will have to be constructed in a gender-neutral way, and evaluations will also have to be based on neutral criteria.

Vacancies and job descriptions must also be gender-neutral, and recruitment procedures must not discriminate between women and men. Employers who flout the rules will be able to be fined.

The agreement must now be formally approved by EU Member States and the European Parliament. The relevant directive will then have to be transposed into national laws.


Berlin's Mayor Franziska Giffey attends an event organised by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) on the occasion of "Equal Pay Day", in front of the Brandenburg gate in Berlin on March 7, 2022. Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap. © BELGA PHOTO John MACDOUGALL



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