Iceland passes law to make it illegal to pay men more than women


Iceland is the first country to pass a law to make it illegal for men to be paid more than women.

The legislation came in to effect on 1 January 2018, will see organisations with more than 25 employees having to obtain a government certification for their equal-pay policies. Those failing to demonstrate pay equality will face fines.

An equal pay management system called The Equal Pay Standard was developed by Icelandic trade unions, the employers’ confederation and government officials, to prevent salary discrimination, and make sure all organisations are registered and adhering to the new requirements.

Employers with 250 or more employees will need to have implemented the equal pay standard by 31 December 2018; those with 150-249 employees will have to obtain the certification by 31 December 2019; employers with 90-149 employees by 31 December 2020; and employers with 25-89 employees will have to obtain the certification by 31 December 2021.

This is the next step by Iceland to combat gender inequality and the gender pay gap. Currently companies with 25 or more employees are already required to have an equality plan; and boards of companies with 50 or more employees are required to have gender parity ratio of at least 60/40.

Speaking about the new legislation, Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (pictured), said: “It’s a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally. We have had legislation saying that pay should be equal for men and women for decades now but we still have a pay gap.

“I think that now people are starting to realise that this is a systematic problem that we have to tackle with new methods. Women have been talking about this for decades and I really feel that we have managed to raise awareness, and we have managed to get to the point that people realise that the legislation we have had in place is not working, and we need to do something more.”