Framework Conditions in France

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The French Labour Code

Already in 1983, the first obligations for companies to report on equal pay have been put into place. Today, each company with more than 50 employees is obliged to publish a yearly report, in which all measures to promote gender equality and equal pay as well as goals for the coming year have to be listed.

Furthermore, employees are entitled to ask for information related to their remuneration and job classification.

Gender Wage Gap and Job Evaluation

Since 2001, gender issues and gender-neutral job classification in collective bargaining is obligatory by law. Further, since 2006, it is compulsory for companies and trade union to negotiate a plan fostering gender equality within the respective company.

Since 2011, companies with more than 50 employees are obliged to have a gender equality strategy on how to close the gender gap within the company.

In 2013, the first violations against the provisions on equal pay have been notified. Both firms were fined and had to equalise the wages for women and men.

Equal Pay Measures

In 2018, the French government announced to introduce a mandatory analysis for companies with more than 50 employees and to developed a suitable software solution. With this tool, companies shall calculate their wage gaps and reveal the main reasons behind the gaps. In this regards, companies are obliged to develop a plan how to decrease the gender pay gap and to enforce gender equality within the company. Companies that are not complying in reducing their wage gaps shall be fined. Furthermore, the government plans als contains measures to strengthen equal pay as part of union work and tariff negotiations.

Gender Equality Index

In January 2019, the French government put into place the law aimed at eliminating the pay gap between women and men in the company and relating to the fight against sexual violence and sexist acts at work. The law requires companies with more than 50 employees to calculate their Gender Equality Index. The index can reach max. 100 points. If companies fail to reach 75 points, fines of up to one per cent of their expenditures on wages can apply.

The law has a three-year period to enter into full effect. Companies have three years to reach more than 75 points and to monitor their acitivites at regular basis.

Companies are obliged to calculate their index every year and to publish their data.

The index encompasses:

1. Gender pay gap, max 40 points

2. Difference in the rate of individual increases (excluding promotions) between women and men, max. 20 points

3. Difference in promotion rates between women and men, max. 15 points

4. Percentage of employees who returned from maternity leave during the reference year and who received an increase on their return during this same period, if increases occurred during the duration of their leave, max. 15 points

5. Number of employees of the sex underrepresented among the ten employees who received the highest remuneration, max. 10 points

The indicators show that there is a clear focus on the gender pay gap although the index coveres several challenges to gender equality in the workplace.

The first reporting deadline has shown that the majority of companies is performing quite well with three companies reaching 99 points in their index.

Parental Leave

In 2015, a parental leave system has been introduced allocating mandatory times of up to six months for both parent to spend with their children. Furthermore, the law introduced that employers are not allowed for reject parental leaves.


Decree n ° 2019-15 of 8 January 2019 applying the provisions aimed at eliminating the pay gap between women and men in the company and relating to the fight against sexual violence and sexist acts at work

European Commission: Legislation and Equality Plans

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

European Commission: Facts and Figures on the Gender Pay Gap

Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes: Gesetzgebung zur Entgeltgleichheit im internationalen Vergleich

Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes: Gleiche Arbeit, ungleicher Lohn? Zahlen und Fakten zu Entgeltungleichheit in Deutschland und Europa

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

Gouvernement francais: Un comité interministériel pour l'égalité réelle entre les femmes et les hommes

Gouvernement francais: Aux droits de Femmes et à l'Egalité entre les Femmes et les Hommes

BFM TV: Gender equality index: around 120 companies in "red alert"