Belgium fails to ensure wage transparency and there violates two articles of the European Social Charter, the Council of Europe body responsible for implementing the charter said on Monday.
While Belgium’s law of 22 April 2012 to combat the pay gap increased the visibility of this gap and proved useful in reducing it, wage transparency is not enshrined in the law and the country has yet to incorporate a 2014 European Commission recommendation to that effect, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) points out.
The current legislation does not set parameters to establish the equal value of work performed, such as the nature of the work, training and working conditions, the ECSR added.
Although job classifications are evaluated for their gender neutrality and verified by the Labour Inspectorate, there is no legal obligation to change these classifications if they fail the test of gender neutrality, nor is there any real sanction if they are not changed, according to the ECSR.
Citing other shortcomings, it considers that the obligation to recognise and respect the principle of wage transparency in practice is therefore not respected in Belgium.
On the other hand, the Committee has not found any violation of the Charter regarding the recognition of the right to equal pay in legislation, access to effective remedies or equality bodies. Belgium also promotes equal opportunities between women and men in matters of pay, as well as the balanced representation of women in decision-making positions in private companies, according to the ECSR.
Sweden is the only one of 15 countries examined that meets the Charter criteria in all these areas, the ECSR reported.
“Despite the introduction of quotas and other measures, women continue to be under-represented in managerial positions in private sector companies,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric. “The ECSR notes that the gender pay gap has narrowed in some countries, but that progress remains insufficient,” she added.