On 14 December 2018, the Swiss Parliament adopted the final text of the amendments to the Swiss Federal Act on Gender Equality (hereinafter the "Amendments") introducing the obligation for certain companies to carry out an analysis of equal pay between women and men. In particular, the Amendments require an equal pay analysis to be carried out every 4 years and to be monitored by an independent body.
The Amendments were proposed by the Swiss Federal Council with the aim of achieving equal pay entrenched in the Swiss Federal Constitution by means of additional state measures. This proposition resulted from the observation that unexplained wage gaps between women and men remain despite the entry into force of the Swiss Federal Act on Gender Equality on 1 July 1996 and the promotion of voluntary measures during a "dialogue on equal pay" project, which lasted from 2009 to 2014.
In November 2015, the Swiss Federal Council started the consultation on the amendments to the Swiss Federal Act on Gender Equality. At the end of the consultation, the Swiss Federal Council instructed the Department of Justice and Police to draft a message on the amendments to the Swiss Federal Act on Gender Equality, which was approved in July 2017. The Swiss Parliament adopted the Amendments, after alleviating the project of the Swiss Federal Council, on 14 December 2018.
A referendum could have been requested against the Amendments until 7 April 2019, but no referendum has been initiated within the deadline. The Amendments will therefore soon enter into force.
The Swiss Federal Council will likely set the date of entry into force of the Amendments still this year. The Federal Ordinance on the monitoring of equal pay analysis, which is currently under preparation, will enter into force at the same time.
This newsflash briefly summarizes the key elements of the Amendments.