French Businesses Fined for Failing to Comply with Gender Equality Laws

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem Photo: Claude Truong/Wikimedia Commons

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
Photo: Claude Truong/Wikimedia Commons

As the 2013 business year came to an end, French Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem gave an ultimatum to the nearly 500 French companies failing to comply with gender equality laws established in 2010. Companies employing more than 50 individuals are at risk of steep penal fines, with five such businesses already paying several million euros of fines per month.

With the gap between men’s and women’s salaries in France’s private sector clocking in around 27%, Vallaud-Belkacem told Europe 1 television that the legislation is no longer the “virtual sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the enterprises, but a real one.”

Since implementing financial penalties in January 2012, over 4,000 companies have sent the department professional equity plans to certify their compliance. The government has the ability to fine up to 1% of a company’s total wage bill, should they fail to meet the equality standards. One such company, showing an average difference of €500 a month between the salaries of its male and female workers, is being fined exactly that percent, totaling €5000 a month for the business. In accordance with the 2010 law, companies are also required to show equity in seniority and advancements, in addition to wage equality.

That being said, Vallaud-Belkacem has noted that fining businesses is a “last resort,” alternatively concentrating her efforts on making the law both efficient and plausible in order to ease the companies’ adjustments.

 

 

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  1. […] French Businesses Fined for Failing to Comply with Gender Equality Laws. As the 2013 business year came to an end, French Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem gave an ultimatum to the nearly 500 French companies failing to comply with gender equality laws established in 2010. Companies employing more than 50 individuals are at risk of steep penal fines, with five such businesses already paying several million euros of fines per month. […]

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