Equal remuneration (pay)
The principle of equal pay for work of equal value means that rates and types of remuneration should be based not on an employee's sex but on an objective evaluation of the work performed. This is a fundamental women workers' right, widely acknowledged and implemented in national legal systems. Statistics and research indicate, however, a persisting pay differential between the sexes which has only slightly decreased in recent years. On average worldwide, women's income per hour is about 75 per cent of men's.
There are several major reasons for these differences in earnings. Jobs done by the majority of women are classified at lower levels. Differences arise in skills and qualifications, seniority, and sectors of employment. Women are highly concentrated in "flexible" work such as part-time, piece-rate or temporary work, which are poorly paid. Women work fewer overtime hours than men. Finally, discrimination with respect to pay, access to and promotion in employment is presumed to be an important factor in the gender pay gap.
The principle of equal pay for work of equal value can be implemented by some practical measures:
Programmes and other measures should be adopted in the workplace to implement the principle of equal remuneration. It should specifically be ensured that:
Part-time and hourly employees should be compensated in all types of remuneration on an equal basis with full-time employees, proportional to the number of hours they work.
In the European Union (EU), the principle of pay equality was laid down in the Treaty of Rome of 1956 and further developed through Council Directive 75/117/EEC of 1975. According to these provisions, the principle of equal pay applies to wages and any other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives, directly or indirectly, in respect of his or her employment. The European Court of Justice, whose case law is directly applicable in all the EU Member States, has also had a strong impact on the situation of women workers. In a large number of rulings, it extended the concept of equality to access and contributions to occupational pension schemes, as well as payments from these schemes, temporary payments after cessation of the work relationship, maintenance of salary in case of sickness, severance allowances, and so on.
→ see also Appraisal and evaluation, Discrimination, Fundamental principles and rights at work, Occupational segregation and Teachers
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