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Collective agreements


A “gender equality fund” to reduce the gender pay gap was introduced in Sweden under the 2007-2009 central collective agreements. This was negotiated by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and employers' organisations. The fund provided for higher wage increases for low-paid employees in female dominated sectors. However, because the fund did not reach low-paid women in male-dominated sectors the LO revised it in 2010 to cover all low-paid workers, on the basis that this would predominantly cover women and therefore address the gender pay gap. The fund proposed an additional EUR 10.9 per month payable to low-paid workers (earning less than EUR 2 445 per month). Between 2007 and 2009 the wage gap between women and men narrowed. Based on data from Statistics Sweden, LO women’s wages increased by 12.6 % and LO men’s wages increased by 11.4 %. Women workers in the municipalities, county councils and retail trade, which are sectors dominated by women, had the highest wage increases.


Equality allowances have been a part of Finland’s collective bargaining system since 1998. They provide an interesting example of how equal pay can be implemented through a specific equality budget in a collective agreement. Before 2005 these were a part of the comprehensive incomes policy covering all sectors of the economy, but since then they have been negotiated through specific sector agreements. Equality allowances are designed to improve the pay of female-dominated and low-wage sectors. The size of the equality allowance depends on the extent to which jobs are female-dominated or low-paid.

The collective agreement for the government sector for 2007–2010 and the municipal pay sector agreement for 2007–2010 both included equality allowances for female dominated jobs and low-paid jobs. For example, in the government sector this led to a 0.2 % equal pay allowance, which was calculated through an equal pay index drawn up by the government, against which the pay of women and men in specific departments or agencies was measured. In addition, the size of the specific allowance was also dependent on the proportional share of women with low pay. Depending on the situation, the specific equal pay allowances varied from between 0 % and 0.4 % of the pay. In the municipal sector special pay increases were allocated for female dominated occupational groups.

A 2010 reviewpdf of the implementation of the new pay systems in different sectors of the economy found that they had a direct impact on the narrowing of the gender pay gap. However, the biggest impact has been amongst higher paid women workers with demanding work tasks and less of an impact has been made on lower paid and less demanding jobs. The new pay systems were also found to have had little impact on reducing job segregation between women and men. Similarly, specific bonuses, particularly merit pay, were found to benefit men more than women, because of an unequal sharing of family responsibilities.


The FGBT/ABVV trade union federation has drawn up a guide for trade unions and employers on how to integrate gender into collective bargaining. The Gender Department of the federation has also organised specific training for union negotiators on how to integrate gender into collective bargaining.

Please find here all the documents related to the gender pay gap.