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European Parliament reopens, debates equal pay for women and the gender pay gap

(Brussels 09 September) The European Parliament will resume sitting this afternoon at five o’clock in Strasbourg after the summer recess. This afternoons debate will see an oral question submitted by Mikael Gustafsson, Chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee about equal work for equal pay, and the steps that the European Commission is taking to ensure the proper implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. Should you wish to follow the debate from Strasbourg live, online, you can do so by following this link.


Subject: The application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value

Equal pay for equal work has since the Treaty of Rome been a basic EU principle recognised in Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Despite the significant body of legislation that has been in force for almost 40 years and the actions that have been taken, progress has been extremely slow: the gender pay gap (GPG) still stands at around 16.2 % across the EU. The slow progress and uneven development in closing the GPG reveals the inefficiency of Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women workers in matters of employment and occupation (recast) in its current form.

On 24 May 2012, Parliament adopted a resolution with recommendations to the Commission on the application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value calling on the Commission to review Directive 2006/54/EC and revise it by 15 February 2013, as set out in Article 32 of the directive, taking on board, where appropriate, Parliament’s recommendations. Meanwhile, the European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) was prepared by Parliament services with clear signals of support for its demand for a revision of Directive 2006/54/EC. In addition, the Eurobarometer findings reveal that addressing the GPG is considered a high priority among gender issues.

What steps does the Commission envisage taking to significantly reduce the gender pay gap, in particular by revising Directive 2006/54/EC, while bearing in mind that addressing the GPG is one of the tools:

– to address the demographic crisis,

– to increase employment among women, and

– to decrease the number of people living at risk of poverty?

How is the Commission going to implement the recommendations of Parliament’s resolution A6-0389/2008 on the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women in the context of the revision of Directive 2006/54/EC in its current form?

What is the response of the Commission to the findings of the EAVA indicating that the recommendations of Parliament’s resolution are likely to have a significant impact on economic output in the EU, since a one percentage point decrease in the GPG will increase economic growth by 0.1 %?


(Update following the FEMM committee press release, issued on Thurday 12th of September)

Is "equal pay for equal work" only fiction?

Member States need to do more to close the gap between gender wages and to correct ineffective implementation of the principle of equal pay at national level, say MEPs in a resolution passed on Thursday. They call on the Commission to keep its promise and revise current legislation to take on board European Parliament’s recommendations.

MEPs stressed that progress in narrowing the gender pay gap, which now is at 16.2%, is going on very slowly. This provokes economic, demographic and social consequences leading to discrimination of women in the labour market, to women poverty and a pension gap.

According to a European Added Value Assessment prepared by the EP, a decrease in gender pay gap of one percentage point could boost economic growth by 0, 1%. Closing the gender pay gap (GPG) should be seen as an investment, MEPs said.

For how long should EU women wait?

Parliament calls on the Commission to urgently address the GPG, review EU law on the matter and, together with Member States, to implement the measures to reduce the GPG.

Background

On 24 May 2012, the EP adopted a resolution with recommendations to the Commission on the implementation of the principle of equal pay for male and female for equal work, asking for a review of existing law. The EP still has not received the Commission proposal.

Procedure: oral question with resolution

LINKS:

- Watch the recording of the debate:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/plenary/video?debate=1378754794828

- Report with recommendations to the Commission on application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A7-2012-0160&language=EN

- Oral question:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=OQ&reference=O-2013-000078&language=EN

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