Estonian minister wants to use surveillance to reduce wage gap in state institutions

  • 2017-12-11
  • LETA/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian Minister of Health and Labor Jevgeni Ossinovski has sent a proposal to the government to reduce the gender wage gap in state institutions and state companies by authorizing the Labor Inspectorate to exercise relevant oversight in the public sector.

As regardless of a discrimination ban, men and women are paid differently in state institutions, Ossinovski has filed a proposal to authorize the Labor Inspectorate to exercise equal pay oversight over public sector employers to ensure that state institutions follow the equal pay principle stipulated in the Gender Equality Act.

The ministry also made a proposal to create new technological solutions for monitoring the gender pay gap. The ministry also said that disclosing payment information across genders and work environments on the websites of public sector institutions should be made obligatory.

The Ministry of Social Affairs in a letter to the minister of public administration also proposes to increase the more equal representation of men and women in the supervisory boards of state companies. It should also be investigated in the framework of the next public service yearbook if the payment rate of employees returning from parental leave is fair.

The ministry also proposed to support conducting a comprehensive analysis of the gender pay gap and determined the detailed reasons for a pay gap in the public sector.

According to an analysis of the Ministry of Finance, the gender pay gap in state institutions and state-owned companies is 9 percent. The analysis shows that men and women often work in different fields within state institutions and men are more represented in leading positions. The wage gap among top executives of state institutions, where women are represented the least, is 6.6 percent. Only 16 of the 93 top executives of state institutions are women. The ministry said that a greater gender balance should be aspired towards when electing top executives.

According to a gender pay gap survey carried out by Praxis, the greater transparency of wages is of key importance when reducing the pay gap, and when banning the disclosure of wages, the employee has an insufficient access to information compared to the employer.