The Estonian government at this week's cabinet meeting adopted proposals submitted by Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) for reducing the gender pay gap in the public sector, including to make salaries more transparent and draw up more efficient ways of analyzing the pay gap.
"Estonia has the biggest wage gap in the EU," Ossinovski said according to spokespeople. "In spite of discrimination being banned, women and men often get paid unfoundedly differently. It is unfair and depreciates the work contribution of women. This also creates more poverty among women and is expressed in a smaller pension later in life. The public sector must stand as an example for the private sector in this regard, and therefore we will implement new steps in the public sector first."
The gender pay gap is a complex issue, caused by factors such as gender stereotypes, segregation in education and later of the job market, an unbalanced division of caregiver burden within families as well as direct discrimination.
According to the proposals, the Labour Inspectorate would be authorized to monitor the gender pay gap in public institutions and companies. In addition, public sector employers would be obliged to make employee salaries public, as the transparency of wages is one of the most efficient means for reducing the wage gap.
The Ministry of Social Affairs wants to conduct a thorough study on the gender pay gap to determine the detailed reasons behind the gap in the public sector.
According to an analysis conducted by the Ministry of Finance, the general gender pay gap in public institutions is nine percent. Estonia continues to have the biggest gender pay gap in the EU.
Editor: Aili Vahtla