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Tackling the pay gap between men and women

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Tackling the pay gap between men and women

SUMMARY OF:

European Commission communication (COM(2007) 424 final) – ways to deal with gender-based pay differences

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS COMMUNICATION DO?

It examines the reasons women persistently tend to be paid less than men and puts forward possible ways to tackle this discrimination.

KEY POINTS

  • The pay gap* can reflect objective differences such as age and experience. But it is also linked to various legal, social and economic factors, such as how jobs are valued.
  • The pay gap is wider than average in private sector companies. It increases with the size of the business and a person's age, level of education and length of service.
  • The communication identifies 4 ways to reduce pay discrimination:
    • Improve the application of existing European legislation and use information campaigns to stress respect for the principle of equal pay for work of equal value,
    • Exploit to the full the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, which includes reducing the pay gap among its aims,
    • Encourage employers in both the public and private sectors to implement equal pay,
    • Exchange examples of good practice at all levels of government.
  • Directive 2006/54/EC provides for equal employment conditions for men and women, including pay.
  • Recommendation 2014/124/EU advises national governments how to better implement the equal pay principle. The guidance includes:
    • right of employees to have information on pay levels,
    • regular reports on average pay levels by companies with over 50 employees,
    • nationally organised pay audits for companies and organisations with over 250 employees,
    • up-to-date data on the gender pay gap.

BACKGROUND

The fundamental principle of equal treatment between men and women goes back to the very beginnings of the European Union. It is enshrined in the Treaty on European Union (Articles 2 and 3(3)), the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 8, 10 and 157(1)), the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 23) and is 1 of 5 priorities in the Women's Charter.

KEY TERM

* Pay gap: this measures the relative difference in the average gross hourly earnings of men and women in the economy as a whole.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Tackling the pay gap between women and men (COM(2007) 424 final of 18.7.2007)

RELATED ACTS

Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast) (OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, pp. 23–36)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 (COM(2010) 491 final of 21.9.2010)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Report on the application of Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast) (COM(2013) 861 final of 6.12.2013)

Commission Recommendation 2014/124/EU of 7 March 2014 on strengthening the principle of equal pay between men and women through transparency (OJ L 69, 8.3.2014, pp. 112–116)

last update 27.01.2016

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