The European Commission is consulting with citizens about obstacles to equal pay, which see women in Malta earning about 11 per cent less than men.

Closing the gender pay gap could lead to an increase of 0.2 per cent in the gross domestic product per capita across Europe between 2030 and 2050. Moreover, an increase in women’s salaries could lower poverty rates among women, empower more women to progress into leadership positions and narrow the gender gap in pensions, according to the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality.

The commission is urging people and stakeholders to take part in a Europe-wide consultation assessing the implementation of equal pay for women and men.

Equal pay for equal work is one of the EU’s founding principles, however, across the EU women still earn on average 16.2 per cent less than men. EU law prohibits direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of sex and, similarly, the Constitution of Malta safeguards equal rights, noting that “women workers enjoy equal rights and the same wages for the same work as men”.

Other national laws also upheld equal pay for work of equal value and banned discrimination in pay. Nonetheless, women in Malta were paid on average 11 per cent less than men and unequal pay could be one of the factors leading to such discrepancy, the NCPE said.

The European Commission’s public consultation focuses on the main obstacles at national and EU levels, including lack of transparency measures, job classification systems that are not gender-neutral and limitations of the protection of victims of gender discrimination in pay.

Citizens, public authorities, social partners, civil society and researchers have the opportunity to share information, views and experiences with the aim of finding ways to better implement and enforce equal pay.

The NCPE is encouraging people to provide feedback “in order to continue working towards achieving equal pay with the aim of strengthening gender equality and enhancing the country’s economic wealth for the benefit of all”.

The public consultation ends on April 5 and feedback can be submitted at https://ec.europa.eu/ info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2018-3415794/public-consultation_en#responding-to-the-questionnaire.

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