Iceland Now First To Require Equal Pay for Men and Women

Printed from:

Iceland is now the first country in the world to mandate that women and men be paid equally.

A new law took effect January 1 requiring that businesses and government agencies with at least 25 employees get government certification of their equal-pay policies, according to Al Jazeera.

The Iceland government plans to fine businesses that don’t comply, in order to try to reach its goal of eliminating the wage gap between men and women by 2020.

Iceland already ranks number one in the world for equality between men and women, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, which measures pay, economic participation, education, health, and political empowerment.

But activists say that men on average still make more than women in Iceland, despite laws on the books demanding equal pay, according to Al Jazeera. They hope the new certification process will achieve what current laws haven’t.

It’s not clear how the new government certification process in Iceland will take into account experience, achievement, hours on the job, and continuity in the work force, all factors that tend to lead to women making less than men.

Motherhood leads many women to cut back on their hours working outside the home and to gravitate toward lower-paying jobs with less demanding work schedules, according to an October 2017 story in The Economist.

In August 2017 the Trump Administration’s Office of Management and Budget suspended an Obama-era form that required companies with more than 100 employees to collect pay data by sex, race, and ethnicity. Anti-gender-gap activists cried foul, but administration officials said the form provides undue burdens on business without achieving the desired effect of equity.