Social dialogue and Collective agreements

In most countries, collective agreements are the most important mechanisms for wage setting. Social partners can use collective bargaining to uncover pay differences or prevent them from emerging in the first place. The experience across Europe shows that centrally negotiated collective agreements can work in favour of equal pay. In comparison, equal pay benefits less from decentralised bargaining.

Examples of Social dialogue and Collective agreements

In Finland, separately negotiated adjustments to pay scales have been put in place. An ‘equality allowance’ places gender pay explicitly on the bargaining agenda within the national pay agreements.

In Portugal, the Gender Equality Agency in Employment spots collective agreements with clauses causing pay discrimination

Raising awareness

10 November marks the EU’s Equal Pay Day. Belgium was the first country in Europe to organise an Equal Pay Day in 2005. The campaign addressed policymakers and the public and focussed on the pay gap between women and men. Since then, the Equal Pay Day has taken place every year. Today the event is celebrated in 12 different EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Estonia, France, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden).

Measuring tools

Pay discrimination may be hidden behind complex wage systems. Companies, control audits and individuals need to rely on measuring tools to detect pay discrimination.

Examples of measuring tools

In Poland, the government launched a free application that employers can use to detect and measure the pay gap within their company.

The German Logib-D is a pay calculator and audit system developed by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs. It consists of a pay calculator to identify the gender pay gap in a company's pay structure, as well as consultancy services to assist in analysing and eliminating the gender pay gap. For instance, it identifies where women and men share the same employment characteristics and the factors that determine the wage gap between men and women.

Certification and reporting obligations

Income reports help to identify and close the gender pay gap in a company. The reports need to be published and submitted to the works council, which hands out a certification. A wage calculator helps employers draw up income reports and enables them to calculate the appropriate pay level by qualification, occupation and other factors. Employees can also use the calculator to see what the correct pay levels should be for their current job or when attending a job interview.

Examples of certification and reporting obligations

In Iceland, companies with more than 25 employees need to obtain a certification proving equal pay for work of equal value regardless of the gender.

In France, businesses of 50+ employees must produce a Gender Equality Index as well as an action plan to tackle the identified gaps. They face sanctions if they fail to do so.

Civil society and equality bodies

Civil society organisations have a key role to play in raising awareness about gender inequalities. They often work in partnership with trade unions and government equality bodies. In many cases, the reducing the gender pay gap is part of the broader objective to promote equality in the workplace and combat discrimination.

Examples of civil society and equality bodies

In Italy, the Labour Inspectorate and the National Equality Adviser have agreed to take various measures to coordinate their activities in the field of anti-discrimination.


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