In the European Union, the fight for equal and transparent pay among men and women is a founding principle originally established in Article 157. This was in the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, otherwise known as the TFEU for short. Despite this, there has been an underwhelming lack of transparency when it comes to pay equality within the EU. Without transparency, it is difficult to determine whether or not fair pay is truly being established and whether or not there are victims of unfair pay, and what they can do to move forward.
Legislative process - Equal pay for equal work between men and women
Due to this, the European Commission took action in March of 2021 by establishing a new legislative proposal that would make pay more transparent. Further, this new proposal would ensure that victims of unfair pay would have access to measurable steps towards justice and pay equality if they were facing pay discrimination. It doesn’t stop there. The European Parliament wanted to be sure that workers also felt there was fairness when it came to discrimination, family life, flexible/remote work, and the like. Since the pandemic, many people have experienced and would like to remain in the flexible work world. Particularly those with small children and families to care for. The European Commission wants to establish fairness in who is in the boardroom and equally who gets to be home to care for families.
Implementing and enforcing these new equalities and principles are a balancing act that requires swift and persistent efforts from the EU. Presently, the pay gap still boasts a large range of nearly 14% in the EU which puts women at a significantly lower wage and thus a disadvantage when compared to their male counterparts. In order to amend this, there are two items of action the EU is taking: making pay more transparent and allowing those who are victims of pay discrimination to have access to justice measures within the EU. As of December 2021, the European Commission proposed a directive that would allow for Member States to enter into negotiations with the European Parliament. We look forward to seeing swift change and equal pay for those within the EU this year, in 2022.