From the New Year, the requirements for reporting on gender equality in Norwegian companies will be tightened. Salary differences between the genders at all levels must be presented.
Gender Equality and Discrimination Ombudsman Hanne Bjurstrøm hopes this will lead to an important awareness raising in the companies when they have to start reporting far more detailed figures on gender inequality.
Going forward, companies must report the following:
* Salary differences: They must submit wage statistics that not only show the average in the company, but which say something about the wage levels for women and men at different levels in the company respectively.
* An overview of where in the corporate hierarchy men and women are placed respectively.
* Overview of who takes parental leave in the company and how many weeks.
* An overview of part-time use and involuntary part-time.
“This will be a very important gender equality policy tool that we are very happy to have put in place. This will give employers an awareness of any imbalances, and it can be an important tool for the union representatives,” says Bjurstrøm to NTB.
Companies with over 50 employees
Initially, the new requirements only apply to companies with more than 50 employees, but they can also include companies with between 20 and 50 employees, if required by the union representatives.
Bjurstrøm urges unions to require reporting in smaller companies as well.
“This is important, because most people in Norway work in small or medium-sized companies,” she points out.
In the future, companies must report on equality status every two years in their annual reports.
Bjurstrøm says supervisors and electronic forms are now being developed to make it easy for companies to report.
Important gender equality challenge
Equality Minister Trine Skei Grande (Venstre/Liberal Party) says she hopes the new reporting requirements can be an important tool that can help reduce gender inequality between women and men
“We know that the gender pay gap remains one of our most important gender equality challenges. If a man and a woman are 100 per cent equal in terms of education, experience and work, the average man will still earn 6.5 per cent more than the woman,” Grande says.
“The survey can provide employers with a basis for assessing whether there is a risk of wage discrimination. And I hope it can make the pay systems more transparent,” says the Minister of Gender Equality.
Grande says the government is embarking on a strategy for a less gender-segregated educational and working life and will propose how we can have a more equal labor market.
Will not look good
No sanctions are expected for companies that report major gender differences. But it will not look very good for those who do, the Equality Ombudsman believes.
“Well-documented international research has shown that diversity is profitable for companies. There is also a trend that employees want a diverse work environment, and then it seems a bit old-fashioned to show that one does not think about equality,” Bjurstrøm believes.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today