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Home >> News >> Europe >> European Equal Pay Day: 3 November

European Equal Pay Day: 3 November

October 29th 2018

In 2018, the European Commission will be marking the European Equal Pay Day again on 3 November. The European Commission marks this day to draw attention to the gender pay gap, and its underlying causes, including the ones linked to work-life balance.

On 26 October 2018, to highlight the importance of the Equal Pay day, the European Commission launched useful data, and a statement made by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, and Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.

In their statement, they note the fact that “Women in Europe earn 16.2% less than men. This gender pay gap is not only unfair in principle, but also in practice. It puts women in precarious situations during their careers, and even more so after they retire, with a gender pension gap of 36.6%. While there is no instant solution to fix this inequality, there are ways to bring about concrete change. The Commission has put a number of proposals on the table to address this issue in the workplace and at home. It is urgent that these are taken forward by the European Parliament and by Member States in the Council to achieve some concrete results, for instance by improving the rights of working parents and carers to take leave to support their families.’’ Read the full statement here…

The pay gap depends on numerous factors: women more often work part-time; they work in lower paid sectors or often have to take the primary responsibility for care of their families. One way to address these factors is to improve the Work-Life Balance of families, which could be achieved by adoption of the proposed Directive on Work-Life Balance made by the Commission. The Commission’s Work-Life Balance proposal includes the right for all fathers to take at least 10 days of professional leave around the birth of their child. Paid parental leave would also become a non-transferrable equal right for women and men - a strong incentive for men to use this possibility, rather than asking women to stall their careers for a long period while men return swiftly to work. The negotiations with the European Parliament and Council are on-going, and an agreement is possible by the end of the year.

To find more information about the new published data on gender pay gap in the EU, visit the website of the European Commissions:

The gender pay gap in the EU, including:

  • EU and national factsheets on the gender pay gap;
  • Expert study: The gender pay gap in EU countries.

Eurobarometer on Work-Life Balance

To mark the upcoming European Equal Pay Day, a new Eurobarometer data was also published to underline the importance of urgently finalise the adoption of the Work-Life Balance Directive. The Eurobarometer report on Europeans’ views concerning work-life balance. Read the results, infographic and country factsheets of the Eurobarometer here

The Commission launched an EU Action Plan on Tackling the Gender Pay Gap for 2018-19. It prioritises eight key areas for action and until now, €3.3 million of funding has been granted to projects combatting stereotypes, with regard to career guidance and career choices. In the coming weeks, the Commission will launch a publicconsultation to see how EU equal pay laws are working in practice, and gather more ideas on how to better reach our goals.

The Commission has further started an evaluation of the Directive on equal opportunities and equal treatment of women and men in employment and occupation. The evaluation will be based, among other input, on discussions with stakeholders, in particular the social partners, and Member States. An online public consultation will be launched in November.

Further Reading

How to build a case on equal pay (2016)
How to build a case on equal pay (2016)