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Transparency can address gender pay gap –ILO

International Labour Organisation

The International Labour Organization has said that pay transparency measures can help to expose pay differences between men and women and identify the underlying causes.

According to an ILO new report, on the average, women were paid about 20 per cent lower than men globally. While individual characteristics such as education, working time, occupational segregation, skills and experience could explain part of the gender pay gap, a large part was due to discrimination based on gender, the report noted.

In addition, women had been among the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of their income security, disproportionate representation, the report said.

These factors negatively affected women’s employment, threatening to reverse decades of progress made towards gender equality, it said.

The new ILO study entitled, “Pay Transparency Legislation: Implications for Employers’ and Workers’ organisations,” found that pay transparency measures could help to address the gender pay gap and reduce broader gender inequalities in the labour market.

Pay transparency, it said, might offer workers the information and evidence they required to negotiate pay rates while providing them with the means to challenge potential pay discrimination, the report further said.

For employers, pay transparency could help to identify and address pay discrimination that might otherwise negatively affect the functioning of the enterprise and their reputation it added

The study offered a detailed mapping of existing equal pay legislation in countries worldwide and discussed arguments for and against pay transparency legislation.

It also paid attention to the role of employers’ and workers’ organisations and presented the findings of an online survey of social partner organisations that assesses their understanding of how pay transparency measures are implemented.

It stated that countries were using a variety of approaches such as periodic pay disclosure, pay audits, and giving workers the right to access pay data. But it said a proactive approach by governments was needed to engage with employers’ and workers’ organisations during negotiations for and the design of pay transparency legislations.

 The paper found that active social partnership was crucial in delivering the results intended by legislation and most critically  to eliminate pay discrimination in the world of work.

According to the Director of the ILO Conditions of Work and Equality Department, Manuela Tomei, “These are still early days for pay transparency. We see countries pursuing different approaches to advance it, which shows that there is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution.

“While more time is needed to assess the effectiveness of the different measures and practices, it is encouraging that Governments, workers’ and employers’ organisations seek to devise innovative solutions, such as pay transparency, to tackle a stubborn problem.”



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