Council of Europe tackles Belgium on pay transparency

Belgium violates two articles of the European Social Charter by failing to guarantee pay transparency, which is nevertheless decisive in equal pay for work of equal value between the sexes, the Council of Europe body responsible for the implementation of this charter.

In Belgium, the law of 22 April 2012 to combat the pay gap between women and men has increased the visibility of this gap and has proved useful in reducing it, recognizes the European Committee of Social Rights (CEDS), in reports scanning the situation in 15 states. But the principle of salary transparency is not enshrined in Belgian law and the country has not yet taken the necessary measures to incorporate a 2014 European Commission recommendation to this effect, he observed in response to complaints. from the international NGO University Women Europe (UWE).


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The Committee adds that the current legislation does not establish parameters for establishing the equal value of the work performed, such as the nature of the work, training and working conditions. There is a large-scale assessment of job classifications as to their gender neutrality, as well as verification by the Labor Inspectorate (SPF Emploi), but there is no legal obligation to modify these classifications. when they do not pass the test of gender neutrality or of a real sanction if they are not changed, explains the CEDS. Citing other shortcomings, he considers that the obligation to recognize and respect the principle of salary transparency in practice is therefore not respected in Belgium. On the other hand, the Committee did not find any violation of the Charter by Belgium for the recognition of the right to equal remuneration in law, for access to effective remedies or with regard to the organs of equality.


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The Charter is also respected by Belgium for the promotion of equal opportunities between women and men in wage matters, as well as for the balanced representation of women in decision-making positions in private companies, according to the CEDS. Sweden is the only one of the 15 countries examined to fulfill the criteria of the Charter in all these areas, the defaulting countries being Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, l ‘Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Slovenia.

Despite the introduction of quotas and other measures, women continue to be underrepresented in managerial positions in private sector companies. CEDS notes that the pay gap between men and women has narrowed in some countries, but that progress remains insufficient“, comments the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejcinovic Buric.

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