Finland halts legislation to boost pay transparency, combat gender pay differences

The Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) Monday announced it has suspended plans to amend the Act on Equality between Women and Men (Equality Act) to further decrease the gender pay gap in the nation. Minister for Gender Equality Thomas Blomqvist said parties simply could not agree on the bill’s content, and the issue of workers’ right to pay information was particularly contentious.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin has made gender equalityand wage discrimination in particulara prime focus of her administration. According to the European Commission, Finland had a 16.7 percent gender pay gap in 2020 and ranked 20th out of the 25 EU nations examined. Despite the relatively high gap, the European Institute for Gender Equality ranked Finland 4th in overall gender equality in Europe for 2021.

Amendments to the Equality Act were meant tostrengthen staff awareness of pay” and bolster the rights of employees “to receive information about pay” if they suspect discrimination. In a November 2021 statement, the Ministry announced that the Working Group on Increased Pay Transparency delivered their final report on the proposed amendments but failed to reach a consensus.

The Finnish Confederation of Business and Industry (EK) resigned from the group, claiming that the proposed amendments went beyond what Marin’s administration required and that the Ministry refused to weigh alternatives to its proposal. The Coalition of Finnish Women’s Associations (NYTKIS) believed the amendments were insufficient to meet the government’s gender equality goals.

Blomqvist said a directive on wage transparency is still underway in the European Union.