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Equal Remuneration Between Men and Women: Where Is Your Company Positioned?

María Paz Contreras's picture

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The European Salary Equality Day was celebrated on 3 November, a date that marks the symbolic moment from which European women begin to work "for free", with 16% of the working year still remaining. In fact, according to figures provided by the European Statistical Office of the European Commission (Eurostat), in Europe women earn 16.2% less than men, which means that women work for two months a year for free compared to your male co-workers.

This survey revealed how the difference in wages between genders not only puts women at a disadvantage throughout their careers, but also after their retirement, because it directly affects the pension system, thus accentuating in all areas the poverty levels of women.

The wage gap, that is, the difference between what a man and a woman earn for the same job, is present in practically all sectors and in almost every country in the world. In Chile, this gap is much higher than the European Union, reaching, in 2016, 31.7% according to the latest report prepared by the INE on the subject, which represents 3.8 months of work per year for free compared to their male co-workers. Moreover, of the OECD nations, Chile is the fifth country with the largest wage gap, behind Lithuania, Japan, Estonia and South Korea, according to the latest report published by that agency in 2015.

However, in some of these countries there are not even laws that regulate equal pay, and in those where such rules do exist, as in the case of France and Chile, they are not met. Indeed, in Chile, Law 20,348 of 2009 modified both the Labor Code and the Administrative Statute, to incorporate in both the employer's obligation to comply with the principle of equal remuneration between men and women who provide the same work, without prejudice to which, in practice this is constantly violated.

In this context, the countries of the European Union have taken different actions to achieve the purpose of equal remuneration for equal work. Thus, for example, France made the decision to tighten the control measures in this area, for which, in March of this year, the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, informed the companies based in the country that they will have 3 years to finish with the unjustified wage gap, and if they do not, they face fines that can reach 1% of the company's salary. This is not about proposing a new law, but about strengthening existing companies, multiplying controls and making them more effective, through the implementation, among others, of computer control systems and the obligation to publish information in their website.

In this international scenario, in which gender equity has acquired great relevance at the global level and is announced as one of the key topics in the coming years, although an immediate solution to end the inequality that persists is not feasible, there are multiple ways in which both private sector companies and the public sector can contribute with concrete changes, measures or positive actions that, in addition to helping to reduce poverty levels and equalize pensions, would increase competitiveness and growth of the organization itself and the economy. Consequently, it is important that companies, due to their high degree of responsibility and social impact, incorporate this topic into their agenda and planning.

At Cuevas Abogados we conduct the review, diagnosis and delivery of solutions to the Ethics protocols of your company, including the Compliance Gender Equality. Please contact us.

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María Paz Contreras's picture

Lawyer Partner of the Corporative Department in Cuevas Abogados (Since 2017).

She was Fiscal Lawyer in Círculo Verde (2015-2017).
She worked as Lawyer Partner in MGC Abogados, in charge of the Business law and Labor law Department (2008-2014).

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