Remember how thousands of women in Iceland left their work early (at 2:38 pm) to protest the wage gap a few months ago? Amidst different conversations on equal pay, the German government on Wednesday approved a proposed bill for equal pay laws — it lets workers sue their employer if they can’t justify the wage gap between men and women for doing the same job.
Of course, the German Cabinet passed the draft bill, and will need to pass a parliament vote to become a law. But according to the possible new rules, medium and large-sized companies (essentially those with 200 or more employees) would now be required to increase salary transparency to make sure women know if they’re being paid less for the same work. All employees would need to be told how their salaries are calculated, and companies with more than 500 employees would have to regularly report on efforts they are making towards ensuring equal pay.
However, there’s also a possibility of the bill facing opposition in the parliament. It’s been reported that Christian von Stetten, who belongs to the ruling party, rather conveniently said that the new bill would “foster workplace envy and discontent”, also saying that around 4000 companies would be “burdened with more bureaucracy,” if the bill was passed. Nevermind that women make 21 percent less than men in Germany.
Hopefully, what Germany’s Women’s Affairs Minister Manuela Schwesig said will be considered more carefully than what men have to say about this —“”We have to break the taboo that you don’t talk about money, because we want to make sure that men and women aren’t played off against each other when it comes to wages.”