Employment and Industrial Relations Law

EU Commission proposes measures to ensure equal pay for equal work: the EU Pay Transparency Directive

29 Apr 2021

2 min read

Earlier this year, the European Commission presented a proposal on pay transparency, aimed at ensuring that women and men receive equal pay, for equal work. The proposal strengthens the tools for workers to be able to claim their rights, whilst facilitating access to justice where employees shall be entitled to compensation for cases involving pay discrimination. Several pay transparency measures are set out in the proposal, including pay information for job seekers, the right to know the pay levels of fellow workers doing the same work, and gender gap reporting obligations for large companies with more than 250 employees.

EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, has been instrumental in presenting and leading the EU Pay Transparency Directive proposal. Dalli notes that:

“The pay transparency proposal is a major step toward the enforcement of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between women and men. It will empower workers to enforce their right to equal pay and lead to an end to gender bias in pay… Women deserve due recognition, equal treatment and value for their work, and the Commission is committed to ensuring that workplaces meet this objective.”

On the 20th April 2021, the Malta Business Bureau held a Webinar on the Pay Transparency Directive, where various speakers were invited to share their views and thoughts on the proposal. During the Webinar, Dalli, one of the speakers, pointed out that in the EU, the right to equal pay has existed on paper for over 60 years. However, what is being proposed is a means of enforcing this right to equal pay. Employees should be able to compare their salaries with those of their co-workers. If unjustified pay differences arise, employers will be required to carry out a joint ‘Pay Assessment’ together with the workers’ representative and must remedy the situation. Dalli also emphasised that certain tools must be made available to employers, to enable employers to define what ‘work of equal value’ truly is. Such tools include for example, job qualification systems, taking various factors into account such as work experience and skills, among others.