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Increasing pay transparency with EU legislation is an effective way to promote equal pay

Girl is taking out a banknote of fifty euros from brown leather wallet on the street. Hands, money and wallet close-up
Photo: iStock.com / andreikorzhyts

In the EU, women earn on average 16% less than men, and promoting pay transparency is an important way of tackling the problem. The Commission has stated that it will put forward a binding legislative initiative.

Gender equality, and equal pay as part of it, are fundamental and human rights issues. Without equal pay, working life cannot be fair and of good quality. The promotion of equal pay is a key part of the reform of working life as a whole and the development of the quality of working life.

EU legislation and Finnish national legislation oblige the implementation of the principle of equal pay. The same remuneration must be paid for the same work of equal value. Nevertheless, one of the most persistent problems in working life is the unjustified pay gap between women and men. There are several reasons behind the unjustified pay gap, and the gap has not narrowed sufficiently over the years. More effective and effi-cient means are needed in the future. Equal pay must be promoted through the development of legislation and collective agreements, as well as through concrete measures in the workplace. Eliminating unjustified pay gaps also requires the definition of work of equal value.

FinUnions supports pay transparency and sees increasing pay transparency through EU-level legislation as an effective way to promote equal pay. Without sufficient information in the workplace it is not possible to find unjustified pay gaps and demand their correction. In order to increase pay transparency, it is also necessary to enhance judicial protection by re-evaluating the rules on the burden of proof and creating so called low-threshold means so that victims of discrimination receive justice more quickly, efficiently and cheaply. FinUnions will clarify its position once the Commission has submitted its proposal.

Personal data protection issues do not prevent the promotion of pay transparency. The EU General Data Protection Regulation contains an exhaustive list of sensitive data and does not mention pay. Pay information cannot be considered sensitive information. The preamble to the Data Protection Regulation states that the protection of personal data is not absolute but must be seen in relation to its role in society.

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