Commission takes action to close the gender pay gap

The European Commission has adopted a Recommendation asking Member States to improve pay transparency for women and men in a bid to help close the gender pay gap.

The pay gap – the average difference between women and men’s hourly earnings across the entire economy – has barely moved in recent years and is stagnating at 16.4% across the European Union.

Greater transparency in pay is an important part of tackling the pay gap, because it can reveal gender bias and discrimination in the pay structures of an organisation. This enables employees, employers and social partners to take appropriate action to ensure effective implementation of the equal pay principle.

The Commission is recommending that Member States improve wage transparency through a ‘toolbox’ of measures, including allowing employees to request information on pay, reporting by companies, pay audits for large firms and including equal pay in collective bargaining. Member States will need to report back to the Commission on what action they have taken to implement the recommendations by the end of 2015.

“Women should not be paid less simply because they are kept in the dark about what their male colleagues earn,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. “Greater transparency will help close the gender pay gap.

“I hope Member States will take up the challenge and endeavour to make sure women no longer get short-changed. Together we can make gender equality a reality, not just on International Women's day, but 365 days a year," she added.

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