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)

AuthorNathalie Wuiame
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
Every year, the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (Institut pour l'égalité des
femmes et des hommes/Instituut voor de Gelijkheid van Vrouwen en Mannen) publishes a
report on the gender pay gap.27
The latest report,28 dated 2019, notes a gender pay gap per working hour corresponding
to 9.6 %, while the annual gender pay gap is 23.7 % both to the detriment of femal e
workers. The difference between these two indicators is explained by the impact of part-
time work reflected in the annual ge nder pay gap indicator. The gender pay gap is higher
in the private sector (28 % without working time correction, and 13 % with working time
correction) than in the public sector (18 % and 6 %). The gender pay gap is particularl y
important for blue-collar workers, corresponding to 42 % without working time correction
and 18 % otherwise. This means that more female blue-collar workers are working part-
time than male, which illustrates the horizontal segregation of the labour market.
In its report from 2017, the Institute looked at other aspects of pay, finding that
contributions of employers to complementary pension schemes demonstrated a gender
gap of 37 %. The gender gap is tricky to assess in resp ect of other fringe benefits, but
appeared to be higher than the pay gap. For remuneration in stock options, a gender gap
of around 40 % was ob served. While 48 % of the gender pay gap can be explained, the
other 52 % remains unexplained.
4.1.2 Surveys on the difficulties of realising equal treatment at work
Ad hoc studies are carried out on specific topics, such as pay, maternity protection an d
protection of transgender people, but not on equal treatment at work in general. Recently,
attention has been given to the situation in the public sector. The Institute for Equality of
Women and Men’s study on th e top management in the public sector demonstrates high
vertical segregation, particularly at federal level. Belgium is one of the worst European
countries in this respect, as women represent only 27 % of those at the highest career
level.29 This is particularl y worrying as Royal Decree of 2 June 2012 imposes a quota of
one third of members of the underrepresented sex at the first two levels of the
4.1.3 Other issues
The implementation of equal pay received quite a lot of attention in Belgium in comparison
with other types of discriminatory factors (i.e. part-time work). Social partners are playing
an important role as illustrated by the adoption of collective agreement s on equal pay in
1975 in view of implementing the E U Equal Pay Directive. For a few years, the focus has
27 Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (2019), L’écart salarial entre femmes et hommes en
Belgique/De loon kloof tussen vrouwen en mannen in België, available in French and Dutch at https://igvm-
28 For 2017, the data collected focused on the structure and distribution of salaries in the sectors of industry,
trade, education, healthcare and culture.
29 Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (2019), Femmes et hommes au sein de l’administration
fédérale/ Vrouwen en mannen binnen de federale administratie, available in French and Dutch at
30 Royal decree on the status of civil servants, available in French and Dutch at
http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/mopdf/2012/06/08_1.pdf, p. 46.

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