Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Iceland becomes first country to legalise equal pay

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REYKJAVIK: A new law making it illegal to pay men more than women has taken effect in Iceland.

The legislation, which came into force on Monday, the first day of 2018, makes Iceland the first country in the world to legalise equal pay between men and women.

Under the new rules, companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people will have to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies.

Those that fail to prove pay parity will face fines.

“The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations … evaluate every job that’s being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally,” said Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association.

“It’s a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally,” she told Al Jazeera.

“We have had legislation saying that pay should be equal for men and women for decades now but we still have a pay gap.”

Iceland, an island country in the North Atlantic Ocean that is home to approximately 323,000 people, has a strong economy, based on tourism and fisheries.

For the past nine years, it has been ranked by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as the world’s most gender-equal country.

The Global Gender Gap Report uses markers such as economic opportunity, political empowerment, and health and survival to gauge the state of gender equality in a country.

Since the reports began in 2006, Iceland has closed around 10 per cent of its total gender gap, making it one of the fastest-improving countries in the world.

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