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France to fine firms in new plan to close pay gap between men and women

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France to fine firms in new plan to close pay gap between men and women
Woman demonstrating at equal pay protest in 2016. Photo: The Local

The French government has laid out its plans to combat the wage gap in France, with companies told they have three years to comply with the law or else face fines.

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French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Thursday the government's plans for closing the country's wage gap.
 
This discrepancy between men's and women's salaries still sits at 9 percent in France even though the law requiring equal pay for the same work was introduced 35 years ago, the government said.
 
But the government plans to give firms three years to close the wage gap or face fines.
 
"These unjustified wage gaps are pure discrimination and, despite a legislative arsenal on the issues, things are not moving forward," said the Labour Ministry.
 
Anti-wage gap software
 
One of the ways in which the government plans to tackle the issue is by rolling out software designed to measure any unjustified pay gaps which will be directly hooked up to a company's payroll system. 
 
Initially it will be used for businesses with more than 250 employees and by 2020 it will also be introduced to smaller companies of 50 to 249 employees.
 
Similar software tools are already in use in Switzerland and Luxembourg.
 
“The software is not a magic wand, but it will reveal certain differences in the pay between men and woman,” Philippe told journalists after meeting with unions and employers.
 
Inspections to ramp up
 
The French government also plans to quadruple random inspections of companies in order to make sure they are complying with salary regulations. 
 
If a company fails to erase a pay gap detected by the software over three years, labour inspectors could impose a fine of up to one percent of the firm’s wage bill.
 
The government is also set to unveil measures for tackling sexual and gender-based violence at work later on Thursday. 

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