EFFAT Executive Committee unites to Close The Gender Pay Gap

Mar 8, 2023 | In the spotlight

Today marks International Women’s Day. On this special occasion, EFFAT’s Executive Committee commits to fighting for a rapid enforcement of the Pay Transparency Directive and for more progressive legislation at national level.

The gender pay gap in the EU has only been reduced by 1% in the last eight years, currently standing at 14.1%. Women in the EU earn on average almost 15% less per hour than men, despite their higher education. This contributes to women’s in-work poverty and lower pensions.

The gender pay gap can hardly be closed as long as there is an overrepresentation of women in low-paying sectors, an unequal sharing of unpaid work such as care and household tasks; as long as  career choices are influenced by family responsibilities and pay transparency remains absent

Evidence reported by EFFAT affiliates shows that women in EFFAT sectors are often given the lowest-paying jobs, receive fewer opportunities to advance in their career, and face discrimination and sexism in the workplace.

Domestic work for example is one of the lowest paid and most vulnerable jobs of the labour market, with domestic workers lacking basic rights such as fixed hours, and facing conditions that edge exploitation. The reasons behind this gap are several. Women mostly take on part time jobs due to family responsibilities. Easily it occurs that there are fewer and less-paid female in higher positions, low levels of qualifications, informality, lack of collective representation, lack of bargaining power, and vulnerable social status.

Suzanne Drӓther, Chair of the EFFAT Women’s Committee, said: ‘EFFAT is convinced that the agreement reached by the EU institution on the Pay Transparency Directive is a good step forward towards increased gender equality. The new Directive will provide further tools to address pay discrimination and help close the gender pay gap in the EU’.

According to the main provisions of the Directive:

  • Employers will be required to provide information on initial pay levels prior to the employment interview.
  • Employers will not be allowed to ask applicants about their previous remuneration history.
  • Employees will have the right to request information from their employer on their individual pay levels and on average pay levels, disaggregated by gender, for categories of workers doing the same work or work of equal value.
  • The right to full compensation, i.e., full recovery of back wages, bonuses, or in-kind payments that should have been paid if the discrimination had not occurred, including interest for late payment.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees will be required to publish information on the pay gap between women and men workers in their company.
  • Where the pay statement reveals a gender pay gap of at least 5%, employers will be required to carry out a pay assessment in cooperation with workers representatives.
  • Where the employer has failed to meet its transparency obligations, it is the employer, not the worker, who must prove that there has been no pay discrimination.

Member states will need to set up penalties if the principle of equal pay is not respected, while workers will have the right to compensation if companies do not respect equal pay obligations.

Member states will then have three years to transpose the pay transparency requirements in their national legislation.

In line with EFFAT objectives to strengthen Gender Equality, EFFAT has received funding for a new EU  project  to Strengthen Gender Equality in the Agriculture, Food and Drinks, Tourism and Domestic Work sectors. EFFAT will collect, exchange and better understand the current situation regarding the gender pay gap, work-life balance and gender-based violence in EFFAT sectors with a view of developing trade unions demands, strategies and guidelines for collective bargaining.

EFFAT strives for an equal, pluralistic society, of which the principle of gender equality is a key milestone. Closing the gender pay in EFFAT and all sectors remains a key priority along with supporting members in order for it to be reality.

On International Women’s Day , EFFAT is also joining the ETUC initiative ‘Safe all the Way’ demanding that all women get home safely from work, a campaign originally launched by workers in the hospitality sectors from Unite in the UK.


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