Gender Pay Gap

By Raphaëlle McAngus 4th November 2016

Are you aware of salary differences between women and men? Even though many things have improved over the years, a pay gap still remains between both genders. And if you start your business in Brussels, you might want to know a few things to avoid any surprises.

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It’s no secret. We all know the existence of this pay gap between women and men which varies from one country to another. Many studies were conducted to understand this gap, such as the University of Michigan Law School which examined this wage gap while matching men and women for possible explanatory factors such as occupation, age, experience, education, childcare, average hours worked and other factors. After accounting for all this, women were paid 81.5% of what men “with similar demographic characteristics, family situations, work hours, and work experience” were paid. Surprised?

Even though efforts were made, we must warn you that the Act of July the 12th 2013 concerns the amendment of legislation on the fight against the pay gap between men and women in Belgium. What does it mean? It means that, as an employer, you are required to establish a detailed analysis report about the structure of remuneration within your business and fill it every two years. The aim being to avoid this pay gap.

Researches were conducted last year and led to some frightening numbers: it appears that there is still a contrast between men and women’s salary according to the DGS, Enquête sur la Structure et la Répartition des Salaires (Survey of the structure and distribution of wages). If some say the gap wage on a monthly salary basis in 2012 in Belgium was down to 7%, some might say the numbers are still too high as there shouldn’t be a gap in the first place. If there is a conflict on why this all begun, some saying it’s due to men negotiating harder their salary during the hiring, other basing their researches on social factors, the problem still remains.

So if you are planning to start your business in Brussels, make sure you have it all in mind. As an employer, you might find yourself walking on egg shells. It might be wise to consider paying your employees, women and men, on the same basis in order to avoid any conflict or drastic problems on a gender level.