No other country in the world has gone as far as Iceland in scraping down the gender bias practiced by corporates in paying salaries to their employees – as it has become the first country to illegalise paying more salaries to men than that to women.
On Monday, Iceland passed a new law that is designed to publicly shame companies that discriminate against women in paying salaries. Gender pay gap is a global problem and even developed countries like US suffers this problem as American women get paid 18% less than their male colleagues doing same work. Let’s not even mention about India (it is 24.81%). Significantly, Iceland was worlds ahead since the beginning as they had a rate of 5.7% – which is about to shrink even further after the law. With making the equal pay law effective, Iceland has picked up the torch of gender equality.
It should be noted that the law not only publicly exposes the companies who do not follow equal pays for both men and women, but it also makes the company a principle subject to lawsuit. The law requires all companies with more than 25 employees to set a fixed value for each task a worker of certain position performs and then fix the salary amount based on those values. Big companies will have to certify their compliance, obtained from authorized assessors, to the country’s government Centre for Gender Equality within a year; and smallest companies will be covered by 2021. This practice of certification will then be reiterated every three years to ensure that the law is lawfully followed by all companies as the law stipulates. The law clearly states that the penalty for failing to comply with the law could amount up to ISK 50,000 per day.
With such a strict law, Iceland hopes to get completely free of gender pay gap by 2021. While Iceland might soon be free from gender pay gap, the whole world altogether, will need 217 years to close up with this gap; because as per WEF 2017 reports, globally, women earn 57 per cent of what men earn doing the same work. That is a huge gap and will certainly need over two centuries, unless every country takes inspiration from Iceland and passes anti-gender pay gap laws.