Equal pay for men and women: what are the rules?

Marie-Hélène Joron is a lawyer, specialist in these issues of gender equality, co-author of Gender equality at work from A to Zpublished last year by Gereso editions.

franceinfo: When was the first law on equality between men and women at work? And what does she say? This is the first law that says “equal work, equal pay”…

Marie-Helene Joron: It is a law whose 50th anniversary we are going to celebrate, since it is a 1972 law which provided that women and men should be paid the same level of remuneration, for work of equal value.

Then we had many laws that came to reinforce this principle, the Roudy law, 11 years later, in 1983, which reinforced the obligations of companies in terms of equality and information on professional equality.

Then, we have the Génisson law in 2001, which introduced the obligation to negotiate on pay gaps, a very important law. This was followed by national inter-professional agreements, and therefore negotiations at branch level.

And then a boost in 2014, with the law for real equality between women and men. What did she bring?

Before this law, there was a law that many companies had skipped; it is a 2006 law that obliges companies to increase the wages of women after they return from maternity leave. We realized that motherhood is a stage in a woman’s life that will impact her career.

This law obliges companies to increase women on their return from maternity leave, both by providing them with the general increases that may have taken place during their absence, but also a catch-up in wages according to the individual increases that have been granted in the same category as them. It is a law which we realized was probably misunderstood and not very much applied…

Except that it now enters the equal pay index…

The Ministry of Labor says that it establishes a real obligation of result, that is to say that companies have no choice but to comply with it. The idea is to score based on four or five indicators, depending on the size of the company.

The most important indicator is the pay gap. A second indicator is the proportion of women who have been increased on an individual basis. Also the proportion of women who received a promotion. The fourth indicator relates to the increase in women on their return from maternity leave. And the last is the number of women who have the best salaries among the 10 highest salaries in the company.

With penalties on the line…

The mark must exceed 75 points. Companies that have less will have to put in place measures within three years to rectify the situation. If after three years this is not the case, the company concerned may have a penalty of up to 1% of its payroll.

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