Frequently asked questions (FAQ) are collections of the most common questions and brief, easy-to-understand answers regarding equal pay and EQUAL-SALARY.

The gender pay gap is a significant issue for several reasons:

  1. Equality and fairness: It violates the principle of equal pay for equal work, undermining fairness in the workplace.
  2. Discrimination: It reflects and perpetuates discrimination against women, even with similar qualifications and roles.
  3. Economic impact on women: it leads to lower lifetime earnings, lower pension, affecting women’s economic security and increasing the risk of poverty.
  4. Impact on families: It affects families’ financial stability, limiting access to education, healthcare, and other essentials.
  5. Reinforcement of stereotypes: It perpetuates gender stereotypes by suggesting certain jobs are more suitable for one gender and certain soft-skills are not as valuable than other skills.
  6. Global economic impact: Closing the gap can boost productivity, economic growth, and innovation by using the full workforce potential.
  7. Legal and ethical considerations: Addressing the gap aligns with legal and ethical principles of equality, non-discrimination, and human rights. (cf. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development from the UN Global Compac

Closing the gender pay gap is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires coordinated efforts from various stakeholders, including policymakers, employers and individuals. Here are several strategies to help address and close/solve the gender pay gap:

  1. Set policies : Implement transparent, robust and non-biased pay policies
  2. Define work of equal value: conduct a thorough job evaluation to ensure that work of equal value are identified and paid equally
  3. Check: Conduct regular comprehensive external pay and policies audits like the EQUAL-SALARY Certification.
  4. Promote women: ensure fair promotion rules are set and respected during evaluation processes
  5. Train your staff: Provide training on unconscious bias, non-discrimination and harassment.
  6. Consider families: Offer paid parental leave and family-friendly policies such as flexible schedules and remote work options.
  7. Educate: Conduct campaigns challenging gender stereotypes.
  8. Diversify your leadership: Encourage diverse leadership teams at top-management and board level.
  9. Use inclusive hiring practices: ensure diverse hiring panels.
  10. Facilitate networking opportunities for women.

“Equal pay for equal work” is the principle that individuals performing the same job or work of equal value should receive the same compensation, irrespective of gender or ethnicity. It emphasizes pay based on objective criteria such as job content, skill level, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. This principle is supported by various labor laws and regulations worldwide, aiming to promote workplace equality.

The “equal pay for equal work” philosophy asserts that individuals who perform the same job or work of equal value should receive equal compensation, regardless of irrelevant factors like gender or ethnicity. This philosophy is grounded in the belief that pay should be determined by the nature of the work, including factors such as skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions, rather than characteristics unrelated to job performance. This philosophy seeks to eliminate wage disparities and promote fairness in compensation, particularly addressing historical and systemic gender-based and ethnicity-based pay gaps.

The revised equal pay regulation for Switzerland entered into effect on July 1, 2020 and will end on 30 June 2032. The main elements of the new law are:

  • Employers with more than 100 employees have to perform an internal pay equity analysis, which applies to both private and public employers;
  • This analysis must be carried out “according to a scientific method and in accordance with the law”, with the Confederation providing all employers with a free standard analysis tool;
  • Organizations have to analyze salary data from July 2020 on.
  • This analysis must be verified by an independent body from July 2021,
  • The result of this analysis should be communicated to employees from July 2022. For publicly-traded companies as well as for public sector employers, the result should be published;
  • In case of discrimination shown in the analysis, organizations must repeat the analyses every 3 years until remediation. No penalty is provided for in the bill.

Organisations with 100 or more employees are affected under the Swiss Gender Equality Act. It includes:

  • Private companies and public organisations
  • The number of employees is measured by heads and not by full time equivalents.
  • Apprentice and trainees are excluded as they represent a special type of contract.

Here is a step-by-step w guide to comply with the Swiss Gender Equality Act:

  • Review the data requirements.
  • Define a salary reference month.
  • Run a salary analysis with a compliant methodology, such as EQUAL-SALARY or Logib and analyse the results.
  • Ask an independent body for the verification (list of accredited experts)
  • Communicate the results to the employees (and to the shareholders if your company is listed).

Adopted on April 24, 2023 by the EU Commission, the Directive (EU) 2023/970 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 May 2023 to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms (European Pay Transparency Directive or EUPTD)’s objective is to solidify the principle of equal pay for equal work between men and women through enhanced transparency and enforcement in the EU.

The Directive (EU) 2023/970 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 May 2023 to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms (European Pay Transparency Directive or EUPTD) applies to organisations with 50+ employees and refers to 37 articles including very practical measures to enforce the principle of equal pay in the EU.

The two key elements to this directive are:

  1. Pay transparency measures for both workers & employers
  • Pay transparency on job offers employers must provide information about pay level or range in the job description or before the interview. Employers will no longer be allowed to ask candidates about pay history.
  • Workers’s right to information: workers will have the right to request specific information on their pay and average pay levels (or workers performing work of equal value).
  • Gender pay gap reporting: employers with 100+ employees will have to publish information on the pay gap between women and men workers.
  • Joint pay assessment: after the reporting, if there is a 5% or more non-justified gender pay gap, a pay assessment must be carried out together with workers representatives. Then the employer must remedy the pay gap differences within a reasonable period of time.
  • Pay structures to compare pay levels will have to be based on gender-neutral criteria and include gender-neutral job evaluation and classification systems.
  1. Better access to justice for victims of pay discrimination:
  • Compensation for workers: workers who have been victims of gender pay discrimination can receive compensation.
  • The burden of proof on the employer: if an employer does not fulfill their transparency obligations, the employer must prove that there was no discrimination in relation to pay.
  • Sanctions may include fines: each EU state will determine specific penalties for infringements of the rules with a financial cost.

The obligation to calculate and report gender pay gaps by category is the main issue for employers. If the gender pay gap is greater than 5%, it leads to a mandatory joint pay assessment, but it can also flag potential equal pay issues and create litigious actions from employees or trade unions.

Employers can take a number of steps already to prepare for 2026 and the enforcement by EU-countries of the EUPTD in their local legislations:

  • Anticipate the new obligations that will apply to all employers:
    • Create salary ranges and add them to vacancy notices.
    • Ensure vacancy notices and job titles are gender-neutral.
    • Check employment contracts, work rules and policies for pay confidentiality clauses.
    • Review the criteria used to determine workers’ pay, pay levels, and pay progression.
    • Prepare a pay policy with these criteria and the obligations concerning the right to information.
    • Review recruitment processes to ensure they are led in a non-discriminatory manner.
  • Address the new obligations that will apply to employers with 100 or more employees:
    • Undergo a pay structure audit and/or a salary analysis that provides the proper information for reporting.
    • Map possible justifications to identified pay gaps.
    • Remedy unjustified pay gaps on time

The law applies to all EU companies with 100 or more employees. This includes part-time employees and contract workers.

A Joint Pay Assessment should include the following:

  1. analysis of the proportion of female and male workers in each category,
  2. information on pay levels for each category and any differences,
  3. reasons for any differences,
  4. proportion of male or female workers that benefitted from pay improvements after maternity/paternity leave,
  5. measures to adress differences in pay
  6. evaluation of the effectiveness of previous joint assessments

Employers subject to reporting obligations under Art 9 of EUPTD, must conduct a joint pay assessment together with workers representatives if:

(a) the pay reporting demonstrates a difference in the average pay level between female and male workers of at least 5 % in any category of workers;

(b) the employer has not justified such a difference in the average pay level on the basis of objective, gender-neutral criteria, and

(c) the employer has not remedied such an unjustified difference in the average pay level within six months of the date of submission of the pay reporting.

Employers should report:

(a) gender pay gap;

(b) gender pay gap in complementary or variable components of pay;

(c) the median gender pay gap,

(d) the median gender pay gap in complementary or variable components of pay;

(e) proportion of female and male workers receiving complementary or variable components of pay,

(f) proportion of male and female workers in each quartile pay band,

(g) gender pay gap between workers by categories of workers broken down by ordinary basic wage or salary and complementary or variable components