Framework Conditions in Belgium

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The gender pay gap with 6.1 per cent is among the lowest in the European Union. Despite the low wage gap, the Belgium labour market remains segregated: women are missing especially at top positions.

Two things are still to be noted: women have gained ground especially in the fields of education and political representation. Today, 49% of women aged 25 to 34 have a tertiary degree compared to 36% of men of the same age. Second, through a quota system targeted at the party lists, the number of seats in parliament held by women could have been increased from 12% in 1995 to 39% in 2011.

Legislation on Equal Pay

In 2012, the Belgian government adopted a new law fostering gender equality. Since then, each company is obliged to produce an annual report on gender equality. This report is then handed to and reviewed by the works council or trade union representatives. Furthermore, the law stipulates firms with more than 50 employees to analyse the wage structure of female and male employees. If in equalities are detected through this analysis, these firms are required to work out an action plan. In addition, companies should appoint a mediator, who is responsible for settling cases of differential pay.

National Collective Agreements

In Belgium, national collective agreements have binding legal status. National Collective Agreement No. 25 regulates that by 2016 all collective agreements shall have a gender-neutral appraoch to job classification, which then is to be translated into gender-neutral remuneration.

Related Links

European Commission: Exchange of good practices on gender equality - discussion paper Belgium

European Commission: Legislation and equality plans

European Commission: Job evaluation free from gender bias / making pay differences transparant

European added value of applying the principle of Equal Pay for men and women for equal work or work of equal value - Research Paper

OECD: Fact Sheet Belgium