In 2018, the French Ministry of Labor published the pay gaps between men and women: a 9% differential in wage and 25% at the end of the career. Yet, as per the famous principle "equal pay for equal work"1, the employer is required to ensure equality of remuneration between employees of either gender, as long as the concerned employees are placed in identical situations.
While an annual negotiation on professional gender equality is mandatory in companies with more than 50 employees since January 1, 20122, the contemplated scheme has obviously not yet fully come into effect.
Persistent gender inequalities have led the legislator to take action again by introducing for employers the obligation to publish indicators relating to gender pay gaps.
The legislator has thus set a new milestone by introducing a so-called "obligation de résultat" (literally "performance obligation"3) with respect to professional gender equality and by strengthening the ways to achieve this. The Law on freedom to choose one's professional future4 imposes on employers the obligation to publish indicators relating to gender pay gaps.
Reminder of existing obligations with respect to professional gender equality Companies with at least 50 employees - regardless of whether they have trade-union representatives - must conduct annual negotiations on professional gender equality (Article L. 2242-1 of the French Labor Code).
If negotiations fail, the employer must unilaterally adopt an annual action plan designed to ensure professional equality between men and women (Article L. 2242-3 of the French Labor Code).
(i) The content of the company-wide collective agreement or, in the absence of such agreement, of the action plan
The company-wide agreement or, in the absence of such agreement, the action plan must include the following:
the progress target;
the actions taken to achieve these targets;
these targets must be accompanied by quantifiable indicators.
These targets and actions must cover nine areas included in the social and economic database, i.e. hiring, training, professional advancement/promotion, qualification, classification, working conditions, effective remuneration, balance between professional life and personal life (Article L. 2312-36, 2° of the French Labor Code).
However, there is no obligation to set targets and implement actions for each of the aforementioned areas. To escape the financial penalty (see below), the company-wide collective agreement (or, in the absence of such agreement, the action plan) must simply address three of the aforementioned areas...