The coalition committee set the outline for an Equal Pay Act on 6 October 2016, thereby affirming that the current gender pay gap between men and women is no longer acceptable. Moreover, the Equal Pay Act should support families with a low income.
According to official statistics the wages of female employees are currently about 21 % lower than men’s on average. Taking into account that women often only work part time and not in senior positions but often in careers such as caring and administration , which generally have a lower wage, a pay gap of about 7 % remains. In order to fight this situation, the coalition committee agreed on an outline for an Equal Pay Act, which includes an individual right to information as well as an investigation process and a reporting obligation. The committee also agreed on an improvement for families with a low income and a rise in alimony advance (child support paid by the state in certain circumstances).
According to these legislative plans employees in companies with more than 200 workers should receive an individual right to be informed about their co-workers wage in order to have an opportunity to compare. This right should either be exercised by the Works Council in companies which are bound by a collective agreement or directly by the employees themselves.
Further, companies with at least 500 employees would be required to undergo an investigation process every five years. Companies which are obliged to file a management report (stock corporations) will have to report on their measures on gender equality and equal pay in the future.
In addition the draft Act contains measures in support of families with a low income. This includes a monthly payment in the amount of EUR 362.00 for the children of low income families. Child supplement amounts will also be raised. This goes along with plans of the federal government to discuss an improvement in the field of alimony advance with the federal states.
The draft Act should be discussed in the federal cabinet (Bundeskabinett) by December 2016 and is planned to come into force in summer 2017.