Pay transparency in Europe: First experiences with gender pay reports and audits in four Member States

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In light of the limited action in many Member States to introduce or review gender pay transparency instruments as recommended, in November 2017 the European Commission announced the possible need for further targeted measures at EU level. This report reviews experiences in four Member States – Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Finland – based on their company-level gender pay reports and audits. Evaluations point to a ‘bumpy ride’ in terms of compliance – at least in the initial phase of rolling out the instruments in some countries – and highlight room for improvement in engaging employee representatives and in raising employees’ awareness. The need to tackle knowledge gaps around the instruments right from the start is a lesson to be learnt from the experiences of the first movers. Soft measures to accompany enforceable mandatory requirements seem to be in demand and to be working well. Ultimately, the success of the instrument depends on the attitudes of the actors, the extent to which they acknowledge the existence of unjustified gender pay gaps and their willingness to engage in a meaningful dialogue and follow-up.

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