Swiss cantons sign up to fight gender pay gap

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Swiss cantons sign up to fight gender pay gap
File photo: Marcel Grieder

Ten cantons have signed a new charter vowing to combat salary inequality between men and women in Switzerland.


Home affairs minister Alain Berset launched the salary equality charter on Tuesday to fight against discrimination in the workplace and promote the principle of equal pay for equal work.

Representatives of ten cantons and 15 communes have signed the agreement, which concerns public administration bodies and companies engaged by the public sector.

Signatories agree to carry out regular checks to ensure that salary equality is respected, and to encourage other companies to do the same.

They also agree to participate in salary monitoring carried out by the home office.

Despite equality being enshrined in Swiss law, women on average earn between 15 and 20 percent less than their male colleagues.

According to the Swiss Statistics Office, in the private sector women earned 15 percent less than men in 2014, and women in high level roles earned on average 22 percent less than men in jobs of equivalent responsibility.

And in 2015 a Eurostat survey put the gender pay gap in Switzerland at 19.3 percent, three percent greater than the European average.

In a statement announcing the new charter, Berset said “the public sector must be an example when it comes to salary equality.”

Though it is not legally binding, it sends a “signal” to public and private employers, said the statement.

Currently the cantons of Geneva, Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Vaud, Ticino, Graubünden, Jura, Bern, Zurich and Basel-City have signed the charter, though Berset said the aim is for all to sign up.


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