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European Union Takes Steps to Close the Gender Pay Gap

The European Union (E.U.) has been working to address the wage gap between men and women. Women make approximately 14% an hour less than men for the same work. This means that women, on average, have to work almost 10 additional weeks each year to make up the difference in pay. In addition, only 7% of CEOs in the E.U. are female and overall executive level representation is around 17%. Legislation advanced by the European Commission will place requirements on companies with over 250 employees to disclose the wages paid to men and women on their payroll and detailing the work that is being done by each. The goal is to have greater transparency with the hope that it will bring greater equity.

Such a move, if passed in the E.U., would mean that employees could request comparisons of how their pay aligns with co-workers in the same roles in the organization. This would mean that applicants seeking employment could request information about their comparative pay before interviewing or accepting the position. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said, "Equal work deserves equal pay, and for equal pay, you need transparency. Women must know whether their employers are treating them fairly. And when this is not the case, they must have the power to fight back and get what they deserve."

The rule would cover a broad range of compensation elements including salary, bonuses, overtime pay, and expenses (travel and housing). The repercussions for organizations not being fair in employee compensation would be two-fold. First, the organization could be fined, and second, victims would have the right to recover back pay for the discrimination. If companies want to attract and retain the best workers, they need to treat everyone fairly.


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