Finance minister calls for lifting of gender pay gap regulations

Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE).
Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonia's position is that there is no need for additional regulations in the field of gender pay differences, Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) said regarding a consultation for European Union member states on measures to increase the transparency of wages.

In a letter to Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center), Helme said that, instead, current regulations should be reviewed and relaxed up to the point where they are lifted.

According to Helme, in hiring employees, business operators should be free in their wage decisions and the primary factor in determining a person's wage should be their contribution to the company's success, and that the person's gender does not play a significant role in this.

In policy-making, business operators should be trusted more and they should not be gradually subject to additional restrictions, including those related to wages, which on the one hand undermines the development of businesses and on the other reduces employees' motivation develop themselves.

When wages are determined as a result of negotiations between the business operator and the employee, this will lead to a situation in the long run where the motivation of employees for professional development, but also improving their negotiating skills, will grow, Helme said.

For Estonia and the whole EU, the competitiveness of our businesses on the global market is an ever bigger challenge, he added.

Estonia and the entire EU should take serious steps to move back toward the rules of free market economy. The more freedom to act is left to companies and the more the state trusts business operators, the bigger the likelihood that EU businesses' competitiveness will grow globally, Helme said.

Estonia has the largest pay gap in the European Union at 22.7 percent.

Last year, data from Statistics Estonia showed the gender pay gap is present across all areas of the country's economy and ranges from between 32.2 percent to 1.9 percent.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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