Women in the European Union still earn less than men. The gender pay gap in the EU-27 has slightly improved since last year: from 14.5% to 14.1% according to the latest Eurostat findings. The European Equal Pay Day marks the day when women symbolically stop getting paid compared to their male colleagues for the same job. This year, the European Equal Pay Day fell on 10 November.
The factors behind the pay gap are manifold: women more often work part-time, they face the problem of the corporate glass ceiling, they work in lower paid sectors and lower paid jobs within sectors and often have to take primary responsibility for caring for their families or are paid less for the same work or work of equal value.
Nine out of ten Europeans – women and men – think that it is unacceptable that women are paid less than men for the same work or work of equal value. European workers agree with pay transparency: 64% of them have said they are in favour of the publication of average wages by job type and gender at their company.
In March 2020, the European Commission published the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 that sets out actions to close the gender pay gap. These include an initiative to introduce binding pay transparency measure. The Commission will also launch a campaign to challenge persisting stereotypes about women, their role in society, and the value of their work. From January to April 2019, the Commission conducted a public consultation on the functioning and implementation of the EU’s legal framework on equal pay. A summary of the results is available online.
The Commission’s proposal on adequate minimum wages for workers, adopted on 28 October 2020, supports gender equality, helps closing the gender pay gap and lifting women out of poverty, as more women earn minimum wages in Europe than men.
Another way the Commission addresses women’s underrepresentation in the labour market is by improving the work-life balance of working parents and carers. In June 2019, the EU adopted the Directive on work-life balance, which introduces minimum standards for rights to paternity and parental leave as well as the rights to carer’s leave and flexible working arrangements for workers. Member States have time until 2 August 2022 to transpose the directive into national legislation.
The Commission Recommendation on standards for equality bodies, adopted in June 2018, paved the way for better support for victims of discrimination, including pay discrimination. (source: European Commission / photo: pixabay)
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