On Thursday 25 June 2020, CEEP took part in the European Commission’s hearing of the EU Social Partners’ consultation meeting on the “Pay Transparency Initiative”.

Continuing the discussions started during a bilateral meeting between CEEP and Commissioner Dalli on 9 June 2020, this consultation is paving the way to the implementation of President von der Leyen’s political guidelines, where binding pay transparency measures are one of the flagship initiatives. It also follows the evaluation of the Recast Directive in March 2020, which stated that limited progress had been made on enforcing the right to equal pay and increasing pay transparency by Member States, and started a public and a social partner consultation on new measures to achieve pay transparency in Europe.

This issue is very high on the agenda of the social partners as this initiative is likely to have an important impact at work place level.

Equal pay between women and men has been a founding principle of the European Union since the Treaty of Rome in 1957. In 2006, a number of existing directives on gender equality in the field of employment were ‘recast’ and consolidated, together with case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, into a single Directive 2006/54 (the Recast Directive). The Recast Directive provides the right to equal pay for the same work or work of equal value, i.e. the comparison between different occupations of equal value. The Directive was complemented in 2014 by a Commission Recommendation on Pay Transparency (2014/124/EU).

Considering the persistent gender pay gap, and the scarce progresses in enforcing the right to equal pay, a forthcoming initiative is now being discussed, building on previous work by the Commission. It will complement other Commission initiatives focused on tackling the root causes of the gender pay gap, such as the adoption and implementation of the Work-Life Balance Directive 2019/1158, sectoral initiatives fighting stereotypes and ensuring better gender balance and the proposed Directive on improving gender balance on company boards of the large EU listed companies.

CEEP stressed during this meeting that the only effective way to tackle wage differences between women and men is to address the root causes, in particular gender stereotypes and gender segregation on labour markets, education systems and in society in general. It was also emphasized that these underlying causes to the gender pay gap are to be taken into account following a holistic approach when analysing, as well as addressing, the gender pay gap. CEEP also reiterated in this sense that employers do not believe that more regulation on pay transparency is the solution.

The meeting started with a morning session of separate employers/trade unions discussions, followed by a joint session in preparation of the official hearing sessions with the Commission. The afternoon session was welcomed by the chair, Mr Jörg Tagger, Head of Unit of the Social Dialogue Unit in the DG EMPL, followed by a presentation from the Commission (delivered by Ms Irena Moozova, Director Equality and Union citizenship in the DG JUST) of the planned initiative.

Should you wish to receive any information regarding the inputs employers shared with the Commission, or a general overview of the initiative, do not hesitate to contact CEEP Project Manager Carlotta Astori.

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