Members' Research Service By / February 21, 2022

Equal pay for equal work between men and women: Pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms [EU Legislation in Progress]

According to a 2017 Eurobarometer survey, seven out of ten Europeans – women and men – think that women earn less that men (69 %).

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Written by Marie Lecerf (2nd edition).

Equal pay for equal work is one of the European Union’s founding principles, enshrined in Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). However, the implementation and enforcement of this principle remain a challenge. Due to a lack of pay transparency, pay discrimination often goes undetected and victims face difficulties in making a claim for redress.

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On 4 March 2021, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal on binding pay transparency measures. The proposed directive to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms focuses on measures to ensure pay transparency, and better access to justice for victims of pay discrimination. The Council agreed its approach on the proposal on 6 December 2021. On 15 November 2021, the joint committee – Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) – started taking stock of the 1 090 amendments tabled to the draft report. On 17 March, the EMPL and FEMM committees jointly adopted the report on the proposed directive, and voted in favour of entering into interinstitutional negotiations. Nevertheless, after its announcement in plenary on 23 March, a plenary vote was requested on the decision. On 5 April 2022, the Parliament voted to confirm the committees’ negotiating mandate on the proposal with a view to informal trilogue negotiations with the Council.


  • May 2022: Equal pay for equal work between men and women: Pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms (2nd edition)
Equal pay for equal work between men and women (pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms)
Committees responsible:Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL)COM(2021) 0093
Co-rapporteurs:Rafaela Samira (Renew Europe, the Netherlands)
Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Greens/EFA, Denmark)
Next steps expected:Vote on the draft report in committeeOrdinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on
equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
EU Legislation in progress timeline

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