The status quo
The Federal Statistical Office recently found a pay gap between women and men of about 22 percent. Other surveys also look at factors such as frequent part-time work, maternity leave, and family work, as well as the fact that women are less likely to work in leadership positions and significantly more often in lower-paid occupations than men.
If one excludes these effects from the statistics, there is still a pay gap of about seven percent for comparable work and qualifications - that is bad enough and needs to be corrected as quickly as possible.
How effective is the law?
Barely a year after the decision, the law is still much debated and commented and actually it remains questionable how effective the EntgTranspG is in terms of actual pay equity really.
- Certainly Company The law has been used as an opportunity to prepare for possible inquiries, but how many inquiries did you actually receive last year?
- And is not every case ultimately a matter of interpretation if one looks closely at the criteria?
- Is it ultimately ('only') a bureaucratic process step that is well-intentioned at heart but lived past reality?
Awareness raising as a first step
The only real value I see personally in the awareness of equal pay, which is required by the newly defined transparency in the EntgTranspG. This forces companies to really engage with the topic. They must finally question their own structures, recognize the potential for disadvantage and identify discrepancies. Companies therefore have to be able to arm themselves for internal demands and be able to answer them reasonably well.
Nevertheless, proving real discrimination remains difficult - there is no absolute comparability. For part-time workers, for example, certain step increases such as frequent travel or job requirements such as changing job sites do not apply. However, these comparison factors are necessary to establish a general equivalency in the pay. Only then can it be clarified in which cases a particular salary is unjustifiably lower and if there is a gender trend.
Companies can no longer afford differences
No company, whether medium-sized companies, consultancy or large corporation, can afford more today to prove that the salary is demonstrably strong between the sexes. But the current job market is far too much driven by workers and candidates. And these are increasingly calling for legally guaranteed wage transparency. However, this transparency also benefits employers: it creates trust and shows that companies are oriented towards requirements and qualifications, not gender.
In my view, transparency is also a reflection of corporate culture - and not an end in itself. Is openness lived or only written in goodwill? A fair, competitive salary, whether for a man or a woman, is just as important as work-life balance models. These have been an integral part of any employee satisfaction survey for years, such as the Great Place to Work Institute.
Transparency is not an end in itself
In addition, alternative family structures are no longer an exception. Men not only take parental leave, but families are increasingly consciously choosing to work alternately and to master family life alternately - or to work completely uniformly in part-time or full-time work. These changed role models no longer make salary equality and transparency a mere "women's topic".
Despite all these changes, I still wait for the applicant, who courageously asks: "Ms. Martensmeier, what on average do the men earn in this position?" Do not the candidates dare or is this question frowned upon in times of equality? or totally overhauled? My appeal goes especially to the women: Do not be fooled, you would have bargained badly. Find out, read market comparative studies, catch up on comparative data from your networks and work your way up the pole. Having this information gives cross-company insights into salary structures and courage to negotiate offensively.
A first step towards raising awareness, but still a long way to real pay equity
Despite these improvements, the question arises as to whether the Payments Transparency Act is the right way to establish equal pay between men and women. Because the introduction has not changed much at first. A new law alone does not lead to a fundamental rethinking of companies or other realities of life for people.
Rather, it is important to stimulate an overall social discussion in order to establish equal pay. In short, the EntgTranspG is a first, but by no means the last, necessary step on the path to equal pay.
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