French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe introduced legislation Wednesday to fine firms that fail to pay men and women equally.
If passed by Parliament the measure will require companies to install software on their payroll systems to monitor unjustified pay gaps.
“The crazy thing is that it all exists in law but equality is missing in practice,” Philippe said. “Our aim is to pass from fine words to true, genuine equality.”
Larger companies with at least 250 employees would receive the software next year, while smaller companies with between 50 and 249 employees would get it in 2020.
Any companies that fail to address unfair gaps in pay detected by the software within three years of a warning would face a fine of up to 1 percent of their wage bill.
Philippe said companies are moving “far too slowly” under current regulations as men continue to be paid 9 percent more on average than women who perform the same job, despite equal pay laws dating back 45 years.
“These unjustified wage gaps are pure discrimination and, despite a legislative arsenal on the issues, things are not moving forward,” France’s Ministry of Labor said.
By Daniel Uria