EU decision with major impact on the labor market: salaries will no longer be secret, and employers will have to take action on differences of more than 5% between men and women

The European Parliament voted on Thursday for a directive that would no longer keep salaries secret, forcing employers to disclose to employees information about the pay of people in the same professional activity category.

A pro-EU rallyPhoto: Ana Fernandez/Sofa Images / Shutterstock Editorial / Profimedia

The new law requires unionized companies to disclose information to employees that is useful for comparing salaries and revealing gender pay gaps.

According to the report of the European Parliament, the rules provide that workers and workers’ representatives have the right to receive clear and complete information on individual and average wage levels broken down by sex.

Wage confidentiality would be prohibited because there should be no contractual clauses preventing workers from disclosing their wages or requesting information about the same or other wage categories, the source cited said.

As far as the legal aspects of wages are concerned, the burden of proof shifts from the worker to the employer. A European Parliament report said national law should compel the employer to prove non-discrimination if a worker goes to court believing the equal pay policy has not been implemented.

Adopted by 427 votes in favor, 79 votes against and 76 abstentions, the directive requires that salary structures comparing wage levels be characterized by gender neutrality.

Vacancy announcements and job titles should be gender neutral and recruitment processes should be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner.

Actions when there is at least a 5% pay gap between women and men

When a pay report indicates a gender pay gap of at least 5%, employers must assess pay with their workers’ representatives. Member States should impose effective, proportionate and dissuasive measures, such as fines, on employers who break the rules. A worker injured due to violation of the rules is entitled to claim compensation. For the first time, multi-discrimination and non-binary rights are included in the scope of the new rules, according to an ethics law approved by the European Parliament.

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“In addition to introducing mandatory measures to eliminate the pay gap between women and men, all citizens of the Union should benefit from new rights, recognition of their situation and protection against pay discrimination. Non-binary people and men and women have the right to information. With this directive, we have for the first time introduced multiple discriminations into European law. I’m proud to have defined and included a worst-case scenario when imposing sanctions,” said Samira Raffaela of the Commission for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (Renew Europe). .

“Over time, women’s work has been undervalued and underpaid, and with this directive we are taking an important step to ensure equal pay for work of equal value. I am very pleased that Parliament has succeeded in broadening the scope, strengthening the role of social partners and ensuring strong individual and collective rights.” Proud,” said Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Greens/ALE) of the Commission for Employment and Social Affairs. .

For the directive to enter into force, the Council must formally ratify the agreement before the text is signed and published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The new rules will come into effect twenty days after their publication.

According to the EP, the principle of equal pay is provided for in Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However, in the EU, there is still a pay gap between women and men of approximately 13%, with significant differences between member states. It has decreased very little in the last ten years.

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