Nation becomes ‘first in the world’ to make equal pay mandatory

by John Hilton09 Mar 2017
Iceland claims to have become the first country in the world to require public and private organisations to pay all employees equally “regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or nationality”.

Despite other countries having “equal-salary certificate policies”, Iceland is the first to mandate nationwide equal pay.

The Icelandic government said it will introduce an Equal Pay Standard requiring all employers with more than 25 staff to ensure they give equal pay for work of equal value.

The goal is for the Nordic nation to eliminate the gender pay gap by 2022.

“The time is right to do something radical about this issue,” said Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson.

“Equal rights are human rights. We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace.

“It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that.”

In October last year, thousands of Icelandic women left work at 2.38pm to protest the gender pay gap.

Women's rights groups had calculated the pay gap meant that after that time each day in Iceland women are working for free.

Despite the large wage gap, women in Iceland are actually paid better than many other countries in Europe.

A recent survey placed the wage gap in Iceland at 14%, while women in the UK are earning nearly 20% less than their male counterparts.

Consequently, it has been calculated that British women are working for free everyday from 19 October until the end of the year.

Recent research in Australia found top tier female managers in Australian organisations earn on average $93,000, or 26.5%, less per year compared to male counterparts. 
The report by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), in collaboration with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) also found once the management environment becomes heavily dominated by women – beyond 80%, the gender pay gap among managers increases from 8% to 17%.



  • by Syd 9/03/2017 2:55:34 PM

    Equal work for equal pay might move the dial a little in countries (5%?) where there's no legislation to that end, but if you did deeper the gender pay gap is calculated as an average, which is predominately due to a lack of women in C suite positions...

  • by Deb 9/03/2017 4:49:25 PM

    And how does any one know in the private and not-for-profit sectors - where salaries are private and confidential?

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