Mind the Gap! New EP Resolution
Last 8 October, the European Parliament issued a Resolution on the application of Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2F%2FEP%2F%2FTEXT...
Here are some of the most relevant points of this Resolution:
1. among other factors, wages are now more frequently negotiated on an individual basis and this contributes to the lack of information and transparency in employee wage structure, creating an environment where gender bias and discriminatory pay structures remain hidden from employees and/or their representatives and are therefore extremely difficult to prove.
2. social partners (trade unions and employers) and civil society organisations play a very important role in fostering equal treatment and promoting the concept of work based on equal pay;
3. according to the European Added Value Assessment(6) conclusions, a one-percentage-point decrease in the gender pay gap will increase economic growth by 0,1 %;
4. simply transposing correctly the provisions of the ʽrecast Directiveʼ into national law has proved insufficient for achieving the full application and effective enforcement thereof, and that differences in pay for men and women persist;
5. Member States are not only expected to transpose the directive but also to ensure the monitoring of the implementation of the principle of equal pay and the enforcement of all available remedies for pay discrimination;
6. the EP reiterates the need for clear harmonised definitions, for comparison at EU level, of terms such as gender pay gap, gender pension gap, remuneration, direct and indirect pay discrimination, and, especially, work treated as ‘equal’ and work of the same value; considers that, in line with CJEU case-law, the value of work should be assessed and compared based on objective criteria, such as educational, professional and training requirements, skills, effort and responsibility, work undertaken and the nature of tasks involved; points out that due to the various types of work contracts that exist, both statutory and contractual, the current calculation of the gender pay gap can lead to a distorted understanding of the problem of equal pay; calls on the Commission to analyse these possible distortions and to propose adequate solutions, including the introduction of mandatory pay audits for companies listed on stock exchanges in the EU Member States, except for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), and the possibility of sanctions in cases of non-compliance;
7. the EP calls on the Commission and the Member States to map the application of the existing job evaluation and classification systems, which vary considerably; calls on the Commission to introduce guidelines for gender-neutral job evaluation and classification systems, including specific measures such as the proportional representation of women and men on evaluation committees, the development of gender-neutral job descriptions and of weighting grids, and the definition of clear criteria for assessing the value of work; calls on the Member States to introduce and use clear and gender-neutral job evaluation and classification systems based on the Guidelines published by the Commission, so that they can detect indirect pay discrimination related to the undervaluation of jobs typically done by women;
8. the EP calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage social partners (trade unions and employers), civil society and gender equality bodies to promote the monitoring of equality practices in the workplace, including flexible working arrangements, with the aim of facilitating the reconciliation of work and private life and further scrutiny of collective agreements, applicable pay scales and job classification schemes in order to avoid any direct or indirect discrimination against women; stresses also the importance of other instruments such as codes of conduct, research, and exchanges of experience and good practice in the area of gender equality with a view to ensuring better protection against discrimination;
9. the social partners need to be encouraged to measure the equality dimension of collective agreements;
10. the EP points out that the country-specific recommendations in the framework of the European Semester should include targets to reduce the gender pay and pension gaps, discrimination and the risk of poverty among elderly women, and to effectively implement equal treatment principles.