Questions and Answers – Equal pay: Commission proposes measures on pay transparency to ensure equal pay for equal work”

European Commission Statement


The right to equal pay for the same work or work of equal value between female and male workers has been a founding principle of the European Union since the 1957 Treaty of Rome. A 2006 Directive (Directive 2006/54/EC) on equal treatment of women and men in matters of employment and occupation already requires employers to ensure equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between women and men. It was complemented in 2014 by a Commission Recommendation on pay transparency. Despite this legal framework, the principle of equal pay is not fully implemented and enforced. The gender pay gap in the EU remains at 14.1%, according to the latest Eurostat findings.

Lack of pay transparency is one of the key obstacles to enforcing this right. It stops workers from knowing how their pay, on average, compares to that of their colleagues of the other sex doing equal work or work of equal value. This puts them in a position where they lack information on whether they are remunerated in accordance with the right to equal pay. In addition, without pay transparency, employers do not necessarily review their payrolls, nor check if their pay systems and job grading do not omit the valuation of relevant skills (e.g. in the service economy). Lack of pay transparency thus creates a grey zone favouring the perpetuation of gender bias in the setting of salaries.

This proposal is designed to address and remedy these issues by strengthening the application of the equal pay principle through pay transparency and improved enforcement mechanisms.


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