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EU Rules on equal pay for equal work and transparency

The European Parliament and the Council published a directive, the purpose of which is to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms. This Directive entered into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, which was on 17 May 2023.

The Directive has an important motivation. The Covid-19 pandemic had economic and social consequences, which had a disproportionately adverse impact on women and gender equality, with job losses often concentrated in low-paid, predominantly female sectors. The gender pay gap in the European Union reached 13% in 2020, and it has decreased only minimally in the last ten years. The causes behind this are varied, but the most common ones are stereotypes, the ‘glass ceiling’ etc. Because of these circumstances, the Directive had been made with two main goals. It lays down minimum requirements to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women (the ‘principle of equal pay’) enshrined in Article 157 TFEU and the prohibition of discrimination, in particular through pay transparency and reinforced enforcement mechanisms. Accordingly, the Directive entrusts not only legislative tasks to the Member States but also supervision, aimed at efficient law enforcement. Member States should ensure that employers provide information concerning their organisation. This information can be for example: the gender pay gap; the gender pay gap in complementary or variable components; the median gender pay gap; etc. This Directive applies to employers not just in the public but the private sector as well. This Directive applies to all workers who have an employment contract or employment relationship as defined by law, collective agreements and/or practice in force in each Member State with consideration to the case law of the Court of Justice.

Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 7 June 2026. Regardless of the former implementation deadline, according to consistent EUB practice, Member States must now refrain from adopting any provisions that would "seriously jeopardize" the achievement of the goals set out in the directive.