Switzerland – For unions, the equal pay law is insufficient

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The union umbrella Travail.Suisse believes that the text which comes into force on Wednesday does not go far enough. It launched on Tuesday a platform to support the objectives of the law and overcome the shortcomings of the review.

Last year, more than half a million women and men took to the streets of Switzerland to demand equal pay.

KEYSTONE / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT

The law on equal pay for men and women comes into force on Wednesday. For the unions, this text is still largely insufficient. Travail.Suisse is launching a platform to promote the pioneers and denounce black sheep.

As of July 1, companies with more than 100 employees have twelve months to verify equal wages. For Travail.Suisse, the law is important, but it does not go far enough. To strengthen it, the umbrella union launched the RESPECT8-3 platform on Tuesday, with reference to article 8 paragraph 3 of the Federal Constitution which prohibits discrimination against men and women.

This platform is aimed at companies. Those who have performed a salary analysis can register and position themselves as pioneers of equal pay. Companies between 50 and 99 employees are also invited to make their commitment known even without legal obligation, said Travail.Suisse on Tuesday.

Blacklist

RESPECT8-3.CH aims to support the objectives of the Equality Act and to remedy the shortcomings of the review. If, at first, a white list highlights best practices, the platform will in the future be supplemented by a black list which will list the companies which do not comply with the requirements of the revision of the law.

Because for the unions, the law goes in the right direction but remains not very restrictive. It only applies to a minority of companies with at least 100 employees. Pay equity will only be verified by 1% of companies, which represent only 46% of employees.

It does include a deadline for carrying out the salary analysis, an additional period to check if it has been performed correctly and a final deadline for internal communication. But it says nothing about checking that deadlines are met. In addition, the discrimination discovered does not have to be corrected.

Limited to 12 years

The validity of the law is finally limited. The provisions on the obligation of salary analysis have been provided with a so-called “Sunset” clause. This means that they will automatically expire after 12 years, regardless of the progress made in terms of equal pay.

Travail.Suisse reminds that statistics still show significant gender pay gaps. The average monthly salary of women is around 1,500 francs lower than that of men. If a good half of the differences can be explained by objective criteria such as education, experience and industry, the rest is nothing more than wage discrimination.

Pay equity has been a principle enshrined in the Federal Constitution since 1981. “Half a million women showed their patience ran out during the Women’s Strike last year. Finally, we need binding measures against wage discrimination, ”said Mandy Zeckra of the Syna union at a press conference.

The advantage of CCTs

Before the entry into force of the revision of the law, many companies like La Poste have already integrated the ad hoc measures, reports Travail.Suisse. From this point of view, a solid social partnership often plays a decisive role.

Unia, for its part, requires companies to involve staff commissions or employee representatives in the process of monitoring equal pay.

(ATS / NXP)



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