European Union member states have approved new rules to reduce the pay gap between men and women.
“The Law on Wage Transparency will reduce the wage gap between the sexes and contribute to the fight against wage discrimination,” the EU Council said in a statement.
Women in the EU currently earn an average of 13 percent less than men, and the new law contains binding measures requiring companies with more than 100 employees to report on the annual pay gap between men and women.
If the difference in wages is greater than five percent, and cannot be justified by objective criteria, companies will have to take measures to reduce the difference in cooperation with unions and employee representatives.
Other measures will oblige companies to disclose salary amounts when they advertise positions and open competitions, and they will be prohibited from asking candidates about their past salaries.
When hiring, workers will also have the right to ask their employers for information on the amount of the average salary in relation to gender, for those who perform the same job or work of the same value.
In cases of pay discrimination based on gender, the burden of proof shifts to the employer, who must then prove that equal pay rules have not been violated.