What are the rules?

Marie-Helene Joron is a lawyer, gender equality specialist, co-author Gender equality at work from A to Zpublished last year by Gereso.

Franceinfo: When was the first law on equality between men and women in the world of work passed? And what does she say? This is the first law that says: “Equal work, equal pay” …

Marie-Helene Joron: This is a law whose 50th anniversary we are going to celebrate because it is a 1972 law that stipulated that women and men should receive equal pay for work of equal value.

Then we had a lot of legislation reinforcing that principle, the Rudy Act, 11 years later in 1983, which strengthened companies’ commitment to equality and information about professional equality.

Then we have the Jenisson Act of 2001, which introduced the obligation to negotiate the pay gap, which is a very important piece of legislation. This was followed by national interprofessional agreements and hence industry-level negotiations.

And then there was a leap in 2014 when a law on real equality between women and men was passed. What did she bring?

Before this law, there was a law that many companies missed; it is a 2006 law that obliges companies to raise wages for women after they return from maternity leave. We realized that motherhood is a stage in a woman’s life that will affect her career.

This law obliges companies to increase the wages of women upon their return from maternity leave, providing them with both a general increase that may have taken place during their absence, and a catch-up salary in accordance with individual increases that were granted in the same categories that they are. This is a law which, as we understand it, was probably misunderstood and little applied…

Except now it’s included in the Equal Pay Index…

The Labor Department says it is setting a real performance obligation, meaning companies have no choice but to meet it. The idea is to evaluate based on four or five indicators, depending on the size of the company.

The most important indicator is the wage gap. The second indicator is the proportion of women who have increased individual affiliation. Also the proportion of women who received a promotion. The fourth indicator concerns the increase in the number of women returning from maternity leave. And the last is the number of women who have the highest salaries among the 10 highest salaries in the company.

With fines on the line…

The score must exceed 75 points. Companies with fewer will have to take action within three years to rectify the situation. If this is not the case after three years, the affected company may be subject to a fine of up to 1% of its payroll.

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