The Finnish government is drafting a new law that will allow employees to control the earnings of their co-workers in case of suspicion of discrimination against them, a move that is part of efforts to bridge the gender pay gap.
The bill has been criticized by both workers ‘unions, which want even greater wage transparency, and the larger employers’ union, which says it will create more conflict in the workplace.
But Prime Minister Sana Marin’s five-party center-left alliance is pushing for legislation to eliminate wage inequalities.
“What is crucial for the government’s program is to eliminate the unjustified wage gap. Inequalities will now be tackled more severely,” Equality Minister Thomas Blomqvist told Reuters.
According to him, the bill will be submitted for voting before the elections in April 2023.
Women in Finland were paid 17.2% less than men in 2020, according to a ranking by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In this ranking, Finland ranks 37th, well behind its neighbors Norway (8th), Denmark (9th) and Sweden (12th), although gender equality has been high on Finland’s political agenda for decades.
A 2018 report by the ombudsman for equality in Finland showed that the reasons for this inequality are often similar to those in other Western European countries – the division of the labor market into male-dominated and non-male-dominated occupations. are dominated by women, fathers who receive less parental leave than mothers and women who are not promoted to higher positions as often as men.
Mergia Machka, a journalist who became an investor and blogger, has been posting her earnings on Twitter and Instagram since 2019 to encourage public debate on payroll transparency.
“There have been situations where I have found that a man who does a job similar to mine has received a higher salary,” Machka said on Tuesday of the reasons for her initiative as she announced her taxable income for 2020 of 48,522 euros.
On Wednesday, the Finnish tax authorities announced the taxable income for 2020 of every citizen, a day known as “tax day” in Finland during which the local media “dust” the archives of the rich and famous.
Although the process is transparent, it does not give the full picture. The tax authorities estimate that a citizen’s taxable income is on average 75-80% lower than his real income due to tax deductions and tax-free allowances.
In connection with the upcoming government proposal, the main employers’ union, the Confederation of Finnish Industries, left the parliamentary transparency working group last November to protest the speed with which changes to legislation are being proposed.
A senior legal adviser, Katia Lepanen, told Reuters that the Confederation would like to do more research into the wage gap and that providing wage information should be voluntary.
“Making it mandatory to publish detailed information on wages will arouse general curiosity and worsen the working climate,” he said.
Trade unions and equality ombudsman Yuka Marianvara say enough research has been done during the previous three governments and that now is the time for action.
“Bridging the gap requires a change in mentality and therefore it is necessary to change the law to change the culture,” added Katarina Mourto, director of the Confederation of Managers and Administrators’ Associations.
The drafting of the proposed bill, which is part of the joint political program of the five-party ruling coalition, to include the different views of the working group, has been difficult and its publication has been delayed. But Blomqvist told Reuters he would move on.
“We will implement what we agreed on in the government program,” he said.
Source From: Capital