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Workplace practices – company equality plans and surveys

Workplace practices can lead to the development of company equality plans and surveys.

Under the Swedish 2008 Discrimination Act employers with 25 or more employees are required to carry out a survey and analysis of pay differencespdf between women and men, every three years. This covers pay systems and practices, and work that is equal or of an equal value. It aims to “discover, remedy and prevent unfair gender differences in pay and other terms of employment”. Employers are required to draw up an action plan for equal pay that sets out the pay adjustments and other measures that need to be taken to bring about equal pay for work of an equal value. The Act also provides for trade unions to cooperate in the survey and in drawing up the action plan for equal pay. The wage survey and equal pay plan complement the plan for gender equality that is also produced every three years by employers who have more than 25 employees. The implementation of the wage surveys has been evaluated with some very interesting outcomes. This has been very important to trade union negotiations with employers as it has helped to make pay data more transparent and gender pay differences visible.

In the United Kingdom the Equality Act 2010 has streamlined and strengthened equality legislation in England, Scotland and Wales. There is a new provision for employers to carry out a pay audit and improve their gender pay gap voluntarily. Section 78 of the Equality Act allows the Government to require large employers (with more than 250 employees) to measure and publish information on their gender pay gap. Employers have until April 2013 to voluntarily report on their gender pay gap and take action to close it. After that the Government may bring in regulations to enforce this if insufficient progress has been made in companies to identify the gender pay gap.

Other examples include provisions for annual action plans for companies with 30 or more employees in Finland, positive action programmes in the private sector in Luxembourg, equality surveys in companies in Austria and equality plans in the workplace in Spain.

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