France To Propose Legislation That Addresses The Gender Pay Gap

France is preparing new social reforms, and will introduce legislation that tackles the pay gender gap. Companies will have three years to comply or pay fines.

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, and his wife Brigitte Macron, right, arrives with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at a ceremony to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Saturday Nov. 25, 2017 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Ludovic Marin / AP Images

France is preparing new social reforms, and will introduce legislation that tackles the pay gender gap. Companies will have three years to comply or pay fines.

Since Emmanuel Macron became president of France last year, his government has taken on plenty of new initiatives. The latest efforts by the prime minister, Edouard Philippe, is to propose legislation that closes the pay gender gap, and if companies do not comply, it will pay fines.

The aim of this effort is to catch French companies discriminating against women over the pay gap. In addition, businesses will be given a grace period of three years to close the gap or face fines under the new labor proposals. According to BBC, the measure has to pass through parliament, and if enacted, the rollout would arrive by the year 2020.

In France, the gender pay gap is 9 percent, on average. This is the reality in the country, but the European nation has equal pay laws that address the issue and date back 45 years.

“The measure is part of a social reform bill due to be presented to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s cabinet at the end of next month.”

In the BBC above report, the Philippe said there is a law that addresses the issue. However, in practice, the pay gap is far from equal between men and women. Philippe added that words do exist and are law. He wants genuine equality.

The process to implement this measure would be done through special software. Specifically, the program would be installed on company payroll systems and monitor unjustified pay gaps.

As reported by the Independent, Philippe explained that this software is not a silver bullet or the golden goose. The aim is to reveal the differences in the pay gap and make the reporting process transparent.

“The software is not a magic wand, but it will reveal certain differences in the pay between men and woman,” Philippe told journalists after meeting with unions and employers.

As to who gets the software will depend on the size of the company or business. If a firm that is large and employs at least 250 staff, they would get the new software next year. On the other hand, companies with 50 to 249 would be affected by the year 2020.

The government will give companies a three-year period. If they cannot abide by leveling the field with the gender pay gap, then they have to pay one percent of their wage bill. Macron’s party is in the majority, so this legislation should pass through with no opposition.