Gender and Pay - the International Perspective

United KingdomScotland

In this edition of On Your Radar we focus on gender and pay across a range of jurisdictions, as we see how different countries are tackling their gender pay gap.

Employing staff across borders requires not only a local understanding of employment law, but also an appreciation of the wider context. In this special issue we highlight the key gender pay equality measures employers should be aware of when operating in different jurisdictions. For example, do you know if you need to submit an income report, or change how you design jobs? And what rights do employees have if they believe they are not being paid equal pay?

As you would expect, most countries taking part have equal pay laws, but many have gone further than this, requiring employers to introduce action plans. France, Belgium and Spain all have some form of obligation on employers to produce action plans on equality.

Belgium - with a very low pay gap of 6.1% - has an interesting approach by ensuring that certain job classifications are gender neutral. Germany has recently introduced a right for employees in large companies to make an information request to determine their colleagues' average remuneration where there are 6 or more colleagues carrying out comparable roles.

A number of countries are currently considering new legislation in this area. Portugal for instance has approved a draft law requiring employers to ensure that they have a transparent remuneration policy based on objective gender neutral criteria, and proposals have been made in the Netherlands for legislation on equal gender pay. Peru, facing a pay gap of just under 30%, has introduced a new law requiring employers to draw up tables with the categories and salaries of each job position including equality in occupational development and training plans.