Iceland makes it illegal for companies to pay men more than women; becomes first country to legislate gender pay gap

Iceland implemented a new law which made it to illegal pay women less than men for the same job and became the first country to legislate the gender pay gap, according to several media reports.

The country's new legislation on equal pay — implemented from 1 January, 2018 — would require private companies and government agencies to go through audits and receive certification that equal pay is provided, or they could face fines.

File image of Iceland's parliament. Reuters

File image of Iceland's parliament. Reuters

"The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations ... evaluate every job that's being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally," Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, board member of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

Iceland ranks first on the World Economic Forum's 2015 Global Gender Gap Index, followed by fellow Nordic nations Norway, Finland and Sweden.

In April, the Iceland Parliament presented the bill, which had the support of both Iceland's centre-right coalition government as well as the Opposition. Nearly 50 percent of the lawmakers in parliament are women.

"The new law aims to close a seven percent wage gap between men and women in the island nation of more than 323,000 people," Thorsteinn Viglundsson, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, earlier told AFP.

"The gender pay gap is unfortunately a fact in the Icelandic labour market and it's time take radical measures; we have the knowledge and the processes to eliminate it," he said.

The law comes in support of the nation's pledge to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022.

With inputs from AFP

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Updated Date: Jan 03, 2018 21:01:47 IST

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