Equal pay and equal treatment at work (Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Recast Directive 2006/54)

AuthorJenny Julen Votinius
4 Equal pay and equal treatment at work (Article 157 of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Recast D irective 2006/54)
4.1 General (legal) context
4.1.1 Surveys on the gender pay gap and the difficulties of realising equal pay
In 2015, the Delegation for Gender Equality in Working Life delivered a report compiling
existing information about how work conditions differ for women and men, and suggesting
initiatives to promote equality in the workplace and reduce the pay gap between women
and men. The report found that the most important explanation with regard to the wage
gap between women and men is that they often work in different professions, in
combination with the compressed wage structure23 in female-dominated sectors, which
makes the financial reward for professional development, for broadening of expertise or
for taking on managerial tasks, very small in these professions.
Since 2007, the Swedish Mediation Office (Medlingsinstitutet) delivers an annual report on
the gender pay gap.24 The 2017 report highlights the fact that the pay gap between men
and women has been decreasing year by year for the past decade. There are several
explanations for this. One explanation is a reduction in the significant gender segregation
related to labour market sectors. Another explanation is that the proportion of employees
with post-secondary education has increased more among women than men, and a third
explanation is that more women become managers.
In 2017, the Expert Group on Public Economics (ESO) delivered a report on the gender
pay gap, focusing on discrimination as an explanatory factor.25 The report states that
although the unexplained part of the gender pay gap cannot straightforwardly be
interpreted as a measure of discrimination in the labour market, women both earn less in
female-dominated occupations than men do in male-dominated occupations, and earn
less in male-dominated occupations than equally qualified men do when they work in the
same occupations. Exactly how much of the unexplained wage differences that can be
attributed to employers’ discriminatory behaviour cannot be determined in the study. The
author points out that many of the differences are due to the fact that men and women
choose different educational orientations, different amounts of hours worked, different
parental leave withdrawals, i.e. that women’s and men’s labour market supp ly differs.26
4.1.2 Surveys on the difficulties of realising equal treatment at work
To the author’s knowledge, there are no surveys on t he difficulties in realising equal
treatment at work.
4.1.3 Other issues
There are no other issues to report.
4.1.4 Political and societal debate and pending legislative proposals
In the aftermath of the #metoo movement in 2017, a number of trade unions,
organisations and authorities initiated investigations regarding sexual harassment, out of
23 ‘Compressed’ means that the difference between the higher salaries and the lower salaries is less salient.
Among men, the wage range is greater.
24 The National Mediation Office in Sweden is a central government agency under the Ministry of Employment,
tasked to mediate in labour disputes, to promote an efficient wage formation process, and to oversee the
provision of public statistics on wages and salaries.
25 The Expert Group on Public Economics (ESO) consists of eight members (the board) supported by a
secretariat. Formally, ESO is a committee attached to the Ministry of Finance.
26 https://eso.expertgrupp.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ESO-rapport-2017_5.pdf. In Swedish with English

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