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The Council of the EU acts on equal pay for women and men


Written on Tuesday, December 7th 2021 à 15:45 | Read 217 times



Janez Cigler Kralj, Slovenian Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, wants equal pay for men and women (photo: Council of the EU)
Janez Cigler Kralj, Slovenian Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, wants equal pay for men and women (photo: Council of the EU)
EU. On Monday 6 December 2021, the Council of the European Union adopted a common position on draft legislation to combat the gender pay gap. This text gives employees "the means to enforce their right to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through a set of binding measures on pay transparency," the institution said in a statement.

"It is simply impossible to justify that women continue to earn significantly less than their male counterparts. With today's agreement in the Council, the EU is taking an important step towards combating pay discrimination and closing the gender pay gap," said Janez Cigler Kralj, Slovenian minister for labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities.

Member States are asking employers to ensure that their employees have access to the objective, gender-neutral criteria used to determine their pay and career progression. "Employers with at least 250 employees must provide, on an annual basis, information such as the pay gap between female and male workers in their organisation. Employers must share this information with their competent national authority and may also make it public. They must also provide this information to their workers and their representatives," the text says. If the pay data shows a difference in the average level of pay of at least 5% between male and female employees, without an objective explanation from the employer, the employer will have to carry out a pay review in cooperation with their employees' representatives.

In the European Union, the average hourly pay gap between the two sexes is 14%. "Women are over-represented in relatively low-paid sectors such as care and education, the 'glass ceiling' means that they are under-represented in the highest positions and, in some cases, women earn less than men for the same or similar work," says the Council.

The EU Council will now begin a series of negotiations with the European Parliament (which has not yet voted on the issue) to reach agreement on a final text.

A rising minimum wage

A few hours earlier, the Council of the European Union also voted on the European framework for adequate minimum wages in the EU proposed by the European Commission on 28 October 2020. It also adopted a common position on a negotiating mandate. This text provides for binding rules for the 21 countries that already have a minimum wage to promote its increase. The six other Member States (Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Sweden) that do not have one are not obliged to establish one.

On 1 July 2021, according to Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, the gross monthly minimum wage ranged from €332.34 in Bulgaria to €2,201.93 in Luxembourg (see table below). In France, it was €1,554.58 (since increased to €1,589 on 1 October 2021).

The European Parliament has already voted in favour of this provision at the end of November 2021. An agreement still needs to be reached between the two institutions before this European legislation can be voted on within two years and then transposed into national legislation.

Wide variations in Mediterranean countries

Country Country Minimum wage at the end of Q2 2021
Greece 758,33 €
Spain 1 108,33 €
France 1 554,58 €
Croatia 567,32 €
Italy No minimum wage
Cyprus No minimum wage
Malta 784,68 €
Portugal 775,83 €
Slovenia 1 024,24 €
Montenegro 331,33 €
Northern Macedonia 358,97 €
Albania 244, 56 €
Serbia 366,13 €
Turkey 346,62 €

Sources: Eurostat

Read also : Gender equality in the EU should be achieved in... 60 years



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