6. A closer look at compliance: Incentives and penalties in enforcing gender pay gap reporting

Do firms comply with gender pay gap reporting rules if there is no enforcement of the rules? Not always. Weak enforcement of pay reporting rules is identified by OECD governments as one of the key barriers to effective company pay reporting (OECD, 2021[1]). Compliance drastically decreases in the absence of a government organisation that supervises pay reporting, commonly known as a monitoring body (OECD, 2021[1]). Moreover, even in cases where a monitoring body exists, the quality of such monitoring matters – weak enforcement mechanisms will likely have little effect on firms’ compliance (Cowper-Coles et al., 2021[2]).

Although most OECD countries with pay reporting schemes have some degree of monitoring, responses indicate that many countries do not regularly or thoroughly monitor compliance (see Section 6.1).

For efficient observation and enforcement of compliance, the monitoring body should be well-funded and dedicated to its task. Generally, the responsibilities of a monitoring body include collecting or receiving gender-disaggregated pay statistics, reviewing reports on equal pay audits (or “joint pay assessments” in EU parlance) submitted by employers, identifying non-compliant firms, and taking appropriate action against non-compliance with pay reporting rules.

Monitoring bodies can also have broader responsibilities. For example, under the EU Pay Transparency Directive (Article 29[3]),1 Member States are required to ensure that the following tasks are fulfilled by a monitoring body, though it does not specify where this monitoring body should be seated:

(a) raising awareness among public and private undertakings and organisations, the social partners and the public to promote the principle of equal pay and the right to pay transparency, including by addressing intersectional discrimination in relation to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value;

(b) analysing the causes of the gender pay gap and devising tools to help assess pay inequalities, making use, in particular, of the analytical work and tools of the EIGE;

(c) collecting data received from employers pursuant to Article 9(7), and promptly publishing the data referred to in Article 9(1), points (a) to (e), in an easily accessible and user-friendly manner that allows comparison between employers, sectors and regions of the Member State concerned, and ensuring that the data from the previous four years is accessible if available;

(d) collecting the joint pay assessment reports pursuant to Article 10(3);

(e) aggregating data on the number and types of pay discrimination complaints brought before the competent authorities, including equality bodies, and claims brought before the national courts.

While government authority to impose sanctions and penalties can help ensure compliance, compliance may also be encouraged through incentives. Equal pay certifications, for example, could serve as a valuable tool. These certifications require employers to analyse their pay practices, as well as identify and address any pay disparities. As such, certifications provide an official recognition that an employer has taken proactive steps to ensure pay equity among their employees. The risk with providing certifications is that they may be mistakenly viewed as a “permanent” good performer status and may lead employers to become complacent. These and other incentives are discussed in Section 6.5.

Importantly, even when government involvement is limited, compliance can be ensured through the active engagement of workers and their representatives. These stakeholders should have a vested interest in holding employers accountable for pay gaps (Section 6.4).

A majority of countries with pay reporting schemes have some degree of monitoring conducted by a government agency, although practices vary widely across countries (see Table 6.1). In several countries such as Australia, Austria, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, oversight authority is given to a gender equality agency or government ombudsman. Other countries incorporate pay reporting monitoring within the inspection duties of a labour ministry, as seen in Belgium, Canada under the Employment Equity Act, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Portugal, and Spain.

Generally, countries that embed pay reporting within equal pay auditing systems tend to have more comprehensive methods of monitoring compliance, often involving dedicated government actors. This is because follow-up action is often a necessary component of an equal pay audit process (see Chapter 4).

Some countries report little to no government monitoring of firms. For example, Finland and Sweden rely on unions instead for holding employees accountable. Others, such as Lithuania and Switzerland, place primary responsibility on employers themselves (or their representatives). However, in these countries the government provides statistical resources to employers. The Lithuanian social security administration calculates aggregate wage gaps for firms, ensuring that basic gender pay gap analysis always takes place (see Chapter 7).

Countries with more rigorous monitoring practices typically have penalties on the books to ensure compliance. This includes Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway (for pay reporting but not equal pay audits), Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In some countries, failure to comply does not directly result in penalties; instead, employers may face potential court proceedings and associated legal damages through the justice system. This is the case in Austria and the United Kingdom, as well as in countries where the court system helps to enforce compliance.

Enforcement of pay gap reporting (and follow-up action) can be carried out by workers and their representatives. Enforcement of equal pay legislation, particularly when unfair pay practices are exposed, often occurs through a judicial process where workers or their representatives can pursue a claim. While these rights exist in theory, legal proceedings can be lengthy, costly and complex in practice. Many employees may be unaware of their rights or hesitant to file a complaint due to fear of retaliation or stigma. Additionally, some employers may exploit legal loopholes or engage in subtle forms of discrimination that are difficult to detect or prove. The efficiency of courts to enforce compliance with such legislation is therefore often a challenge.2

How should gender pay gap reporting be enforced? There are likely multiple paths to ensure compliance. In regulatory enforcement, the basic economic argument is simple: the probability and the severity of punishment influence the likelihood of compliance (Becker, 1968[3]). This suggests that regulatory enforcement measures must be designed in a way that makes it more costly for companies to ignore their reporting obligations than to comply with them. By increasing the expected costs of non-compliance, companies are more likely to comply with gender pay gap reporting regulations.

However, enforcement is also costly to the agent(s) tasked with enforcement and to firms subject to enforcement. A well-formulated enforcement strategy should therefore “provide correct incentives for regulated subjects as well as appropriate guidelines for enforcement staff, and minimis[e] both the monitoring effort and costs for the regulated subjects and the public sector” (OECD, 2014[4]).

These considerations often come into play when assessing the enforcement of environmental regulation, for example, and the solution offered is targeted enforcement efforts (Friesen, 2003[5]; Shimshack, 2014[6]). In short, enforcement can be made more efficient and effective through targeting enforcement efforts at companies that are most likely to engage in non-compliance.

In line with this principle, the OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Enforcement and Inspection (OECD, 2014[4]) offers general guidance on “risk focus” within enforcement design. In the case of gender pay gap reporting, the risk is non-reporting by firms, which is likely higher in cases where the firms have high known or expected gender inequalities.

All enforcement activities should be informed by the analysis of risks. Each activity and business should have their level of risk assessed. Enforcement resources should then be allocated accordingly. Each set of regulations should likewise be given a level of priority commensurate to the risks they are trying to address. Risk should be understood here as the combination of the likelihood of an adverse event (hazard, harm) occurring, and of the potential magnitude of the damage caused (itself combining number of people affected, and severity of the damage for each) (OECD, 2014[4]).

In this exercise, it may be helpful to assess risks at the aggregate level, as this enables an understanding on the extent of non-reporting in different industries and sectors. In short, it helps highlight problem areas for targeting purposes.

Assessing risks and prioritising on their basis does not need to mean complex data-mining methods – not all regulatory fields will have adequate data for this, and not all agencies will have the capacity – nor is it always necessary to use such techniques to achieve real improvements in targeting. In the absence of comprehensive and/or fully reliable data, regulatory enforcement agencies should rely on interpreting what data exists (at least to establish which sectors appear to generate the most damage), using international experience in the same field, as well as senior officers and experts’ understanding of the field, to develop a risk-based categorisation of sectors, business types and objects of inspection. Risk focus should not be seen as the opposite of relying on the expertise of enforcement officials, but rather a way to structure and orient such expert knowledge (OECD, 2014[4]).

At the same time, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of targeted enforcement, as non-compliance rates are not a function of the whole universe of firms – rather, they reflect outcomes in firms selected by the enforcement agency, which may over- or under-represent true values of non-compliance.

How do these general theories of regulatory enforcement relate to gender pay gap reporting? In the case of pay reporting, the regulatory literature implies that it may be more efficient to target companies with a history of non-compliance or those in industries with a history of large gender pay gaps, where non-compliance may be more likely and the risk of harm (to disadvantaged workers) may be higher. It is also important to take advantage of available data – e.g. statistics on which firms have historically performed pay gap reporting – to identify potential non-compliance.

Importantly, the OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Enforcement and Inspection (OECD, 2014[4]) also note the importance of simulating statistically representative information on compliance by using different indicators. This includes the use of random, statistically representative surveys every few years “to get a reality check [on] business operators’ compliance in critical areas.” Applied to pay gap reporting, this could take the form of infrequent, random compliance checks on top of more targeted enforcement.

Two other enforcement mechanisms are worth noting in the case of pay transparency compliance. The first is enabling workers or their representatives to notify cases of non-compliance to a monitoring body. This can take different routes. Either workers can file a formal complaint (in this case there are stricter requirements on who can notify), or they can more simply “signal” when they think a firm is failing to comply (in this case less proof is necessary). The institutional recipient of these complaints or “signals” could be seated, for example, in an Ombudsman office or a gender equality ministry. While there may not be institutional capacity to respond to every complaint, this provides a mechanism for aggregating and recording concerns against specific firms and/or industries over time, thus, potentially facilitating targeting efforts.

Aside from formal enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with laws and regulations, an important informal enforcement mechanism is reputational risk. “Naming and shaming” may be even more powerful than fines, which a firm can internalise financially (OECD, 2014[4]). This strategy could, for instance, be used as an escalation of enforcement in cases of serious compliance issues.

Experimental evidence indicates that individuals’ compliance with laws is also influenced by their beliefs about what is socially acceptable behaviour (Acemoglu and Jackson, 2017[7]). This has clear indications for enforcing gender pay gap reporting: the success of such regulations will likely depend not only on the threat of punishment but also on social norms regarding gender equality. If social norms around gender equality are weak or non-existent, then even strict regulations and inspections may not lead to compliance with gender pay gap reporting. To increase compliance, efforts may need to be made to change social norms and beliefs around gender equality and the importance of equal pay through education and awareness-raising campaigns, alongside strict regulatory enforcement measures.

Financial penalties are the most common option for enforcing pay gap reporting rules (see Table 6.2 and Subsection 6.3.1). Another frequently reported option public disclosure of the names and/or contact details of non-compliant employers, often referred to as “name and shame”. Additionally, non-compliant firms may be required to conduct equal pay audits and, in some cases, develop action plans based on these audits (see Subsection 6.3.2).

The literature on pay transparency emphasises the importance of government agencies having the authority to publicly name businesses that violate the law and impose substantial financial penalties on those intentionally non-compliant (OECD, 2021[1]; Cowper-Coles et al., 2021[2]). However, the extent to which financial penalties are effectively enforced or sufficiently impactful on non-compliant employers remains questionable in many countries.

Australia and Italy offer examples of different standalone penalties. In Australia, cases of non-compliance can be tabled in Parliament. Non-compliant organisations may be disqualified from tendering for certain contracts under Commonwealth procurement frameworks and may become ineligible for certain Commonwealth grants or other financial assistance.

In Italy, if non-compliance persists for more than 12 months, non-compliant employers face a suspension of any contributory benefits enjoyed by the company for a period of one year.

In most cases, non-compliance refers to the failure to publish the gender pay gap report or communicate the results to the appropriate bodies within the specified period (as is the case in Belgium, Canada, France, and Portugal).

Financial penalties are the predominant enforcement mechanism in the majority of countries where pay reporting rules are in place. This is the case in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

France’s legislation goes beyond penalties for failure to publish the overall Professional Equity Index3 score and its component indicators. It also allows financial penalties for employers who fail to develop appropriate and relevant corrective measures and achieve concrete results within a three-year period. In Canada and Italy, fines can be imposed if a pay report contains incomplete information or knowingly false and misleading data.

In Norway, the Equality and Discrimination Tribunal holds the authority to take action against discriminatory acts. They have the power to order remediation measures and other necessary actions to prevent discrimination, harassment, instructions, or retaliation. In cases where the deadline for complying with an order is breached, the Tribunal may impose an administrative decision to enforce compliance, typically in the form of a coercive fine.

This coercive fine can be either a lump-sum payment or an accruing daily fine. It becomes effective when the deadline for complying with the order has been missed and generally continues until the order has been fully implemented. If a party disagrees with the decision to impose a coercive fine, they have the option to request a review. In certain circumstances, the Tribunal may reduce or even waive the imposed fine based on special reasons.

Since the strengthening of the law in 2020, the Discrimination Tribunal in Norway has not yet resorted to financial penalties as a means to ensure compliance with reporting requirements. The first case appealing for such measures was brought to the Tribunal in March 2023, and as of now, the complaint has not been processed.

While Denmark does not provide detailed information on their enforcement mechanism, they report that employees who have experienced infringements on their right to equal pay and made a complaint to either the Board of Equal Treatment, industrial arbitration or national courts are rewarded compensation equivalent to the pay they should have received had the equal pay principle not been violated.

Potential fine amounts can range from a minimum of EUR 25 in Belgium to unlimited fines in the United Kingdom. “Administrative” offenses in Belgium can receive fines up to EUR 250, and criminal offenses can be fined between EUR 50 and EUR 500. Lithuania also has relatively small fines, ranging from EUR 140 to EUR 280. In practice, these fines are so small that they are unlikely to impact bigger businesses and, as such, have disproportionate impact on SMEs. Italy and Portugal represent a middle ground with potential fine amounts ranging between EUR 1 000 and EUR 5 000, and EUR 612 and EUR 9 690, respectively.

The largest potential fixed fine amounts can be found in the United Kingdom (unlimited fines possible, if rarely enforced) and Canada, under the Employment Equity Act. Canada’s Department of Employment and Social Development Labour Programme has the authority to issue a notice of a monetary penalty of up to USD 10 000 for a single violation and to USD 50 000 for repeated or continued violations.

France has taken a slightly different approach and has linked the maximum fine amount to the company payroll: a penalty of up to 1% of the company’s payroll is possible in the event of non-compliance. This approach is beneficial in that in treats larger and smaller firms more equally and can potentially amount to larger fines, nevertheless, it is still questionable whether fines this size will significantly influence the behaviour of larger companies. The remaining countries provide no general detail on fine amounts in their responses to GPTQ.

The discussion above highlights the potential of financial penalties to promote compliance with reporting requirements, particularly in countries where significant sums can be imposed as fines. However, many countries with pay reporting systems state that penalties are infrequently imposed and carried out.

Canada (under the Pay Equity Act), Denmark, Italy, and the United Kingdom are among the countries reporting that financial penalties have never been issued. In Canada (under the Employment Equity Act) the last penalties were issued in 1991.

In Sweden, in 2016, Försvarsförbundet4 (the Swedish Union of Defence Employees) brought a case against the Swedish Armed Forces (the employer) for not having fulfilled their obligation to conduct an equal pay audit since 2008. Deciding in favour of Försvarsförbundet, the Anti-Discrimination Board ordered the employer to fulfil their obligations within four months of the decision or pay a penalty of SEK 2000 000 (about EUR 176 000). The obligations to be fulfilled included:

  1. 1. Conducting a central exercise of identifying and categorising work as equal and of equal value across sub-departments, according to a common standard,

  2. 2. Centrally analysing whether there is objective cause for pay differences between women and men performing equal work (i.e. not directly or indirectly related to gender),

  3. 3. Conducting a central exercise of identifying groups of workers undertaking work that is, or is typically viewed as, female-dominated and groups of workers undertaking work of equal value but that is not, or is not typically viewed as, female-dominated, and

  4. 4. Centrally analysing whether there is objective cause for any potential pay differences between groups of workers in female-dominated and non-female-dominated groups performing work of equal value are (i.e. not directly or indirectly related to gender).

Some countries, such as Belgium, Finland, Norway, Portugal, and Spain, do not even collect data on compliance, as reported in OECD GPTQ 2022. Iceland also states that penalties have not been enforced yet due to ongoing implementation of Equal Pay Standard and Equal Pay Certification, which were introduced in 2018 and 2020.

France again stands out as an exception to this pattern of relaxed oversight. The French Labour Inspectorate actively enforces pay auditing processes and imposes financial penalties on companies that fail to publish the Index or take corrective measures. The obstruction of the functioning of the Social and Economic Committee (CSE) can also lead to criminal proceedings initiated by the Labour Inspectorate or worker representatives. Although France has observed an improvement in the response rate from companies, the Index score has remained stable at 86, indicating only limited improvement in pay equity. See more on French enforcement in Box 6.1.

Interestingly, limited evidence indicates that the potential of financial penalties can act as an incentive for compliance. As a result of the introduction of fines in Spain, employers – now aware of the potential of greater enforcement – have more frequently engaged with trade union requests for equality plan negotiations. The perception is that negotiations for equality plans have increased significantly, by about 40% (Cowper-Coles et al., 2021[2]).

The name and shame procedure is the second most commonly reported option for enforcing compliance. It is employed in Anglo-Saxon countries such as Australia, Canada (under the Pay Equity Act), and the United Kingdom, as well as in Japan and Korea, the two Asian countries with pay reporting rules (See Boxes 3.1 and 3.7 for more information).

Action plans or pay audits are also relatively common, and often complementary, tools (Canada under the Pay Equity Act, Denmark, Korea, and the United Kingdom, see also countries with equal pay auditing requirements in Chapter 4). In the United Kingdom, non-compliance often pertains to a failure to adhere with equal pay provisions rather than with pay transparency requirements. In other words, they could also be considered follow-up measures, which are explored in Chapter 4.

In Denmark, employers have the option to do an internal report on equal pay and create an action plan instead of reporting gender pay information. This is similar to the United Kingdom’s regulations, where employers who are found to have breached equal pay provisions by the Employment Tribunals are ordered to conduct equal pay audits. See Chapter 4 for more information on non-mandatory audits and audits other than those required as part of pay reporting.

In Australia, non-compliant employers are publicly named annually. The potential inclusion in this public dataset can serve as a deterrent for employers who might consider non-compliance. Additionally, legislation passed in March 2023 now requires the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to publish employer gender pay gaps. This will begin in 2024.

In the United Kingdom, where gender pay gaps are publicly shared, there is significant public pressure and reputational risk, which strongly incentivise employers to report their data and take steps to reduce gaps. In the first two years of reporting, for example, there was a 100% compliance rate (GPTQ, 2022). The country’s media also play a role in ensuring that poorly performing firms face substantial reputational damage and financial consequences when their results are made public (Duchini, Simion and Turrell, 2020[10]).

Although Sweden does not require companies to publish their gender pay gap information, bad publicity in media can occur in relation to supervision of the Equality Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can publish the result of the supervision on their website and sometimes makes press releases on their decisions.5

Korea represents a particularly comprehensive example of the use of various penalties other than fines. According to the nation’s regulations, non-compliant businesses are published in a yearly list. Such businesses include those: (a) whose ratio of employed female workers or managers by job categories is less than 70% of the average by industry and size three times in a row prior to the date of disclosure of the list, and those (b) who failed to comply with the request to implement appropriate measures after submitting their performance results. Beyond this, businesses whose figures are below 70% of the average for each sector are required to establish an improvement plan, for which an implementation guidance is provided.

Workers and worker representatives can play an important role as de facto enforcers of gender pay gap reporting rules. Through collective action and advocacy, they can raise awareness of pay disparities and advocate for greater transparency and accountability in pay practices, and can address gender-based discrimination in hiring, promotion, and compensation. Worker representatives can also push for policies that promote gender equality in the workplace. Their active engagement in regulatory enforcement efforts related to gender pay gap reporting – such as direct communication with employers or with government ombudsman – can be highly beneficial.

Responses to a survey on worker and employer representatives indicate that this communication avenue is commonly used and can be a fruitful catalyst for change. In nearly all countries worker representatives report being consulted by employers “frequently” or “sometimes” and only three countries (Austria, Canada and Italy) indicated that to their knowledge this had never happened.6 From employer representatives, all reported that consultations happened “sometimes” or “frequently”, no employer representative selected “never” (ILO, 2022[11]).

However, only a limited number of countries emphasise social dialogue in the fight against the gender pay gap. For instance, as of 2021, only nine OECD countries promoted equal pay considerations in collective bargaining (OECD, 2021[1]). However, many countries report that although such social dialogue is not explicitly promoted, pay equity is still commonly covered in collective bargaining (OECD, 2021[1]).

The Belgian response to the GPTQ (2022) highlights the significance of social dialogue within companies for compliance with pay gap reporting. Employee representatives can remind employers to submit the pay gap report. In fact, the report is not only submitted to the participation body, but it is mandatory to discuss the report within three months of the end of the financial year, ensuring that the wage gap remains a topic for social consultation.

Countries employ various incentive mechanisms to encourage pay reporting and improvements in the gender wage gap, in addition to or instead of penalties. One notable approach is the implementation of equal pay certifications, which is a recent development in pay transparency legislation (see Subsection 6.5.1). These certifications aim to recognise and reward employers who demonstrate compliance with equal pay standards.

Another commonly reported incentive mechanism is providing relevant employers with clear communication, guidance and encouragement to report (Chapter 5). In Norway, for example, the Ombud plays a role in assisting employers by preparing a joint compliance strategy, offering support with reporting, and planning follow-up visits (OECD GPTQ, 2022). This support helps employers navigate the reporting process and ensures their understanding of the requirements.

Digital tools are also recognised as facilitators of reporting and monitoring. When countries equip employers with digital tools, the overall reporting process becomes simplified, and administrative costs for employers are significantly reduced (for more information, refer to Chapter 7). Governments can offer online pay reporting portals or implement automated data collection and analysis systems, making it easier for employers to submit accurate information and allowing for efficient monitoring of pay gaps.

By providing incentives such as equal pay certifications, guidance and support for reporting, and digital tools to streamline the process, countries aim to promote greater participation in pay reporting and facilitate improvements in addressing the gender wage gap. These incentive mechanisms help create a more favourable environment for employers to engage in transparent reporting and take proactive steps towards achieving pay equity.

While company certifications are not a novel approach, equal pay certifications are a recent phenomenon in pay transparency legislation. Where financial penalties are the “stick” of enforcing pay reporting rules, certifications represent the “carrot”.

However, the effectiveness of these certifications in inducing compliance and reducing of gender pay gaps has not been well-researched. Some experts suggest that when certifications establish minimum standards or “pass marks”, the businesses that meet those standards may grow complacent even if gender inequalities persist (Cowper-Coles et al., 2021[2]).

It is worth noting that existing certifications often address workplace gender inequality as a whole, rather than solely focusing on equal pay only. This is in line with the common understanding that gender pay gap reporting should be viewed, by governments and employers, as one component of a larger support package to combat gender inequality in the workplace (and beyond) (OECD, 2021[1]; Cowper-Coles et al., 2021[2]).

A first example is Iceland’s Equal Pay Certificate,7 introduced in 2018. The Certification consists of a written statement from the certifying body, confirming that the equal pay system and its implementation meet the requirements of the Equal Pay Standard (ÍST 85:2012) as listed in Article 1c of that standard (Iceland's Directorate of Equality, n.d.[12]). More generally, the aim of the certificate is to uphold current equal pay laws and to abolish gender-based pay disparities. By putting this norm into practice, businesses and institutions can create a management structure that guarantees pay-related proceedings and decisions are based on objective analysis and without gender discrimination (Iceland's Directorate of Equality, n.d.[12]).

Portugal’s Equality Platform and Standard, was prepared by the Technical Commission for Standardisation CT 216 “Wage Equality between Women and Men”, whose co-ordination is ensured by the National Standardisation Organism (Instituto Português da Qualidade, I.P.) under the “Equality Platform and Standard project”. This project, funded by the Programme Work-life Balance and Gender Equality of EEA Grants 2014-21, includes developing mechanisms to combat gender inequalities in the labour market and constructing a digital platform to monitor the implementation of public policies within the scope of the Agenda for Equality in the Labour Market and in Companies. Also, at the end of 2022, Portugal created a distinction, Company that Promotes Equal Pay between Women and Men”, for companies that with good practices in promoting equal pay between women and men for equal work or work of equal value.

In Italy, the Equal Opportunities Certification8 came into force in December 2022. Its objective is to certify at least 800 small and medium-sized enterprises by June 2026. The certification criteria include ensuring sufficient opportunities for women, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, setting up management policies for gender diversity, and offering maternity protection (Italian Government, n.d.[13]). Businesses that have been granted a certification for gender equality can qualify for a waiver from paying a portion of their overall social security contributions made by the employer (European Commission, 2023[14]).

Costa Rica’s INAMU Gender Equality Seal Programme9 serves as an example of an institutional programme that collaborates with the private sector to implement actions aimed at closing the gender gaps and ensuring gender equality in labour relations. INAMU employs various forms of technical assistance, including free teaching tools, training processes and bilateral consultations, to implement the methodology of the National Gender Equality Standard together with companies. The methodology contains the following steps: i) decision and commitment of senior management; ii) planning of the process through the diagnosis of gender gaps, the gender equality policy and its action plan; and iii) areas of action such as human resource management, comprehensive health, social co-responsibility for care and the working environment.

In Mexico, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the National Institute for Women, and the National Council to Prevent Discrimination promote the voluntary adoption of the Mexican Standard (NMX-R-025-SCFI-2015) on Labour Equality and Non-Discrimination.10 The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is also developing the Accreditation System for Good Labour Practices and Decent Work. These mechanisms seek to ensure equal opportunities between women and men, non-discrimination, prevention and punishment of workplace violence, and conciliation between work and personal life. Compliance with the Mexican Standard regarding labour equality and non-discrimination allows companies to receive a certification, but it is not mandatory.


[7] Acemoglu, D. and M. Jackson (2017), “Social norms and the enforcement of laws”, Journal of the European Economic Association, Vol. 15/2, pp. 245-295, https://academic.oup.com/jeea/article-abstract/15/2/245/2884553.

[3] Becker, G. (1968), “Crime and punishment: An economic approach”, Journal of political economy, Vol. 76/2, pp. 169-217, https://www.nber.org/system/files/chapters/c3625/c3625.pdf.

[2] Cowper-Coles, M. et al. (2021), Bridging the gap? An analysis of gender pay gap reporting in six countries, https://www.kcl.ac.uk/giwl/assets/bridging-the-gap-full-report.pdf.

[10] Duchini, E., S. Simion and A. Turrell (2020), “Pay Transparency and Cracks in the Glass Ceiling”, CAGE Online Working Paper Series, p. 482, https://ideas.repec.org/p/cge/wacage/482.html.

[14] European Commission (2023), Italian Gender Equality Certification System, https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/items/776614/.

[5] Friesen, L. (2003), “Targeting enforcement to improve compliance with environmental regulations”, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 46/1, pp. 72-85.

[12] Iceland’s Directorate of Equality (n.d.), Equal Pay Certification, https://kvenrettindafelag.is/en/resources/equal-pay-standard/ (accessed on 16 November 2022).

[11] ILO (2022), Pay transparency legislation: implications for employers’ and workers’ organizations., https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---protrav/---travail/documents/publication/wcms_849209.pdf.

[13] Italian Government (n.d.), “Italia domani”, Certification system for gender equality, https://italiadomani.gov.it/en/Interventi/investimenti/sistema-di-certificazione-della-parita-di-genere.html (accessed on 16 November 2022).

[9] Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de l’Insertion (2022), Les résultats de l’Index de l’égalité professionnelle 2022. [The results of the professional equality index 2022]., https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/actualites/l-actualite-du-ministere/article/les-resultats-de-l-index-de-l-egalite-professionnelle-2022 (accessed on 15 March 2022).

[1] OECD (2021), Pay Transparency Tools to Close the Gender Wage Gap, OECD, https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/pay-transparency-tools-to-close-the-gender-wage-gap_eba5b91d-en.

[4] OECD (2014), Regulatory Enforcement and Inspections, OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264208117-en.

[6] Shimshack, J. (2014), “The economics of environmental monitoring and enforcement”, Annual Review of Resoure Economics, Vol. 6/1, pp. 339-360.

[8] Terriennes, L. (2021), De quoi “l’index d’égalité femmes-hommes” en entreprise est-il le nom?, https://information.tv5monde.com/terriennes/de-quoi-l-index-d-egalite-femmes-hommes-en-entreprise-est-il-le-nom-398605.


← 1. The European Union Pay Transparency Directive is available at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2023-0091_EN.html#title2.

← 2. See Chapter 1, Box 1.2., Pay transparency helps, but employees still bear the burden of rectifying pay inequity for a broader discussion.

← 3. Index de l’égalité professionnelle, more information available at https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/droit-du-travail/egalite-professionnelle-discrimination-et-harcelement/indexegapro.

← 4. Försvarsförbundet is a Swedish trade union within TCO for employees in the Swedish Armed Forces, FMV, FRA, the Swedish Recruitment Authority, the Swedish Defence University and the Swedish Fortifications Agency.

← 5. For an example from the Ombudsman’s website, see (in Swedish) https://www.do.se/kunskap-stod-och-vagledning/tvister-domar-och-tillsynsbeslut/arbetsliv/kriminalvarden-brister-i-arbetet-med-lonekartlaggning

← 6. The survey was conducted with 97 worker representatives from 15 countries, either at the national or sectoral level. Additionally, it was sent to 17 employers’ organisations, and approximately 60 percent of them responded, representing 10 countries.

← 7. More information available at https://kvenrettindafelag.is/en/resources/equal-pay-standard/.

← 8. Sistema di certificazione della parità di genere. More information available at https://italiadomani.gov.it/en/Interventi/investimenti/sistema-di-certificazione-della-parita-di-genere.html.

← 9. More information available at https://www.inamu.go.cr/web/inamu/sello-de-igualdad-de-genero1.

← 10. More information available at https://www.gob.mx/normalaboral.

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