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12 January 2017

Berlin introduces gender pay gap reporting

The German government has backed a Bill to make salaries more transparent for employees, aimed at closing the gender pay gap.

The Bill would allow employees working for companies employing more than 200 people to see what their colleagues in equivalent positions were earning. In addition, businesses with over 500 workers would need to publish regular updates on their salary structure and show that they were complying with equal pay rules.

On an average, men in Germany earn 21 percent more than women, compared to the EU average of 16.5 percent , according to 2015 statistics. Even after taking into account that more women work part-time or in low-paid jobs, the gap for men and women with equal qualifications remains at 7 percent, according to official sources.

The move is contentious, with some seeing it as necessary to get employers to take action to close the gender pay gap, and others seeing it as both unduly bureaucratic and as fostering employee discontent – presumably those who oppose the Bill are happy to overlook any discontent currently felt on the part of women unhappy at the existence of a gender pay gap.

A similar move on gender pay gap reporting in the UK has been broadly welcomed by business groups, who are in favour of the self-regulatory approach taken by the initiative.

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