A lot has changed in 2020. It would be easy to assume that the issue of gender equality takes a back seat to the consequences of a global pandemic.
The opposite is true. The impact of Covid-19 has brought gender equality issues to the forefront, with discussions around unequal male and female roles and pay getting louder.
Throughout the world, influential voices are raising their concerns on the impact of Covid-19 on the gender pay gap. This isn’t going away.
The World Economic Forum recently published a feature that stated “the gap could increase this year as women are likely to be disproportionately affected by home responsibilities in quarantine” and WIN shared an article stating that the burden of the gender pay gap is more significant during this crisis and should be recognized.
Inequalities that were previously hidden in plain sight are now glaringly obvious, and employees are waiting in expectation for the organisations they work for to fix them.
HR leaders should take note.
The Swiss Federal Act On Equality
We previously wrote about the new Equality Act (LEg) that came into force in Switzerland on July 1, 2020. This amendment states that organizations with more than 100 employees have to perform a statistical analysis of their wage bill.
The analysis must be carried out “according to a scientific method and in accordance with the law”. The EQUAL-SALARY methodology is compliant with the requirements defined in the equality Act. Although the new Equality Act is a much watered-down version of the original proposition, it sets a milestone in equal pay for women and men in Switzerland.
From the time the law was amended until it came into force, the world has gone through a major crisis.
However organizations cannot just ‘use the excuse’ of Covid-19 and focus on economic issues only. To comply with the new law, organizations in Switzerland have one year to address it. While there are no sanctions planned by law, failing to do so will have consequences.
A new initiative was announced at the end of June by Travail.Suisse, an employees organization. RESPECT8-3.CH was launched to promote organizations that have taken action for equal pay before the law came into force. EQUAL-SALARY certified organizations are featured on it.
From July 2021, organizations that have not done it will be challenged on their motivations not to do so. In addition, politicians are likely to react if the law doesn’t produce the required results – especially now that more women are in parliament.
Already since the law was amended, several politicians have presented motions that suggest that this law will be reinforced in the coming years.
In other parts of the world, politicians and civil society are also pushing to make sure women are treated more fairly.
If women are left behind when it comes to salary, it impacts their families and eventually becomes an macro-economic issue. Governments will have to compensate for the loss of revenue.
What can we do about it?
Gender equality requires practical action, not just good intentions.
The EQUAL-SALARY certification is a process that allows companies to verify and communicate that they pay their female and male employees equally for the same job or for a job of the same value.
It’s a chance for organisations to put their values into action. To prove their commitment to equal pay for all.
If you want to get EQUAL-SALARY certified, join the cause, become an ambassador or would just like to learn more, please get in touch.