France to Fine Firms If Gender Pay Gaps Not Erased

PARIS (Reuters) -

French companies will have three years to erase their gender pay gaps or face possible fines under plans presented by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Wednesday to unions and employers.

Men are on average paid nine percent more than women in France, even though the law has required equal pay for the same work for the past 45 years, the government said.

Companies with more than 50 employees will be required to install special software hooked up directly to their payroll systems to monitor unjustified pay gaps under the plans.

The aim was to roll out the software in companies with more than 250 employees next year and in 2020 for firms with between 50 and 249 workers.

If a company fails to erase a pay gap detected by the software over three years, labor inspectors could impose a fine of up to one percent of the firm’s wage bill.

The government aims to iron out the details in the coming month with employers, unions and experts and include the plans in a broader labor reform package to be presented to parliament next month.