New pay transparency rules, agreed Thursday by the EU institutions, will empower women to enforce the principle of equal pay for equal work through a set of binding measures on pay transparency. According to the agreement reached by European Parliament and EU countries’ negotiators, EU companies will be required to disclose information that makes it easier to compare salaries for those working for the same employer and expose existing gender pay gap.

Pay structures to compare pay levels should be based on gender-neutral criteria and include gender-neutral job evaluation and classification systems. Vacancy notices and job titles will have to be gender neutral and recruitment processes led in a non-discriminatory manner. If pay reporting shows a gender pay gap of at least 5%, employers will have to conduct a joint pay assessment in cooperation with their workers’ representatives. Member states will have to put in place effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties, such as fines, for employers that infringe the rules. A worker who has suffered harm as a result of an infringement will have the right to claim compensation. For the first time, intersectional discrimination and the rights of non-binary persons have been included in the scope of the new rules.

The provisional agreement stipulates that workers and workers’ representatives will have the right to receive clear and complete information on individual and average pay levels, broken down by gender. Pay secrecy will be banned: there should be no contractual terms that restrict workers from disclosing their pay, or from seeking information about the same or other categories of workers’ pay.

On pay-related issues, the burden of proof will shift from the worker to the employer. In cases where a worker feels that the principle of equal pay has not been applied and takes the case to court, national legislation should oblige the employer to prove that there has been no discrimination.

Source: EUbusiness

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