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French Government Creates Program to Close Pay Gap

The French government recently announced that it will be imposing fines on national companies that do not erase their gender-based pay gaps within the next three years.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented the plan to employers and unions earlier this month. It is inspired by statistics that state that French men are paid 9 percent more than women.

The government plans to monitor pay gaps by requiring firms with more than 50 employees to install a special computer software that will connect to their payroll systems and ensure there are no unreasonable pay differences.

“The software is not a magic wand, but it will reveal certain differences in the pay between men and women,” said Philippe.

Companies with more than 250 employees will receive the software next year, while brands with 50 to 249 workers will receive the program in 2020. After the software is installed, these companies run the risk of being fined up to one percent of their wages if they fail to close the pay gap.

While I applaud the government’s desire to finally end wage disparity in French companies, I can’t help but ask, what took so long?

Reuters reported that the French government passed a law making gender-based pay gaps illegal 45 years ago, yet the gap is still present. It’s about time the French government increased its attack on the issue by imposing repercussions on companies perpetuating the pay gap. Imposing a fine is an adequate method for punishing these companies and will hopefully provide a good incentive for them to ensure men and women are paid equally.

Where have the repercussions been for the last four decades? The government has had the opportunity to use their initial law against pay gaps for years, but French women still have to wait three more years until they can see companies finally being chastised by the government. That’s nearly a 50-year wait. 

There’s no reason for this wait. I think that the government should start fining companies for their pay gaps now, and they can continue to use the software to reveal more cases of a pay gap once it is fully developed and put in place. The time for change is now, not in three years.

Perhaps the government is waiting for the software to be developed and implemented, and to ensure that these companies have the financial stability to create pay equality. Whatever the cause for waiting may be, I look forward to seeing French women finally vindicated and given equal pay for the stellar work that they do.

Featured Image by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

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