SPD push for women to be able to see men’s salaries

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) want to introduce a law allowing women to see what their male colleagues earn, in an attempt to level the gender pay gap.

SPD push for women to be able to see men’s salaries
Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig is back from maternity leave and determined to push the law through against the resistance of Angela Merkel’s Chancellery, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reports.

A Tuesday evening government meeting has now set a timetable for the bill to become law, the SZ goes on.

Under the proposed law, people would be able to see what their colleagues of the opposite sex earn.

But it would not allow for employees to see individual colleagues' payslips, rather presenting an average salary for those at a similar position in the company hierarchy.

The law would also only apply to companies which employ more than 500 people.

“The Chancellery has been blocking the bill for five months. That needs to end,” Schwesig, who has been pushing for the bill for almost three years, told the SZ.

Women earn on average 21 percent less than men, an “unacceptable” figure, the Families Minister added.

Further, she said her fellow ministers had committed to fighting this inequality in the coalition agreement signed when the government was formed in 2013.

“It is time for the Union [Merkel’s party] to act.”

But the Union are set to fight the law tooth and claw, citing its possible negative impact on the economy.

“Companies will be put under a state of general suspicion for no reason,” Joachim Pfeiffer, the Union’s business spokesperson protested.

Pfeiffer went so far as to deny that women are discriminated against and paid less because of their sex.

The best mechanism against discrimination “is a market economy itself,” he said.

“We don’t want to strain the economy by putting it under ever more regulation,” Union MP Max Straubinger said, warning of “dissatisfaction and conflicts in businesses” if the law were enacted.

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