EU Ministers of Social Security and Employment Focus on the Future of Social Policy and Reducing the Gender Pay Gap

Date

2018 03 15

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During a meeting held in Brussels on 15 March, the Minister of Social Security and Labour Linas Kukuraitis, along with other EU ministers of social security and employment, discussed matters related to EU social policies after 2020 and reducing the gender pay gap.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) of the EU held a policy debate which emphasized that the adoption of the Interinstitutional Proclamation on the European Pillar of Social Rights at the level of the EU we undertake to implement its key principles at the national level. It was also highlighted that the pursuit of common European values and political goals must remain a priority in developing the social future of the EU during the new program cycle, and that Lithuania supports the increase in funding of social matters.  

“The process of developing new EU funding programmes  must emphasise flexibility in reacting to both local conditions and changing circumstances,  the reduction of  of bureaucratic procedures, high levels of financial autonomy, and accountability for decisions taken”, said Minister of Social Security and Labour Linas Kukuraitis.

During  policy debates on reducing the gender pay gap, the Minister of Social Security and Labour Linas Kukuraitis highlighted the key political measures in this area to be  the transparency and publicity of wages.

“One of the purposes of the new Labour Code which came into force on July 2017 is to encourage the reduction  of the gender pay gap within companies. Each year,  companies with over 20 employees must provide their boards and trade unions with anonymised data on the average wage of their employees sorted by professional group and gender,” said Linas Kukuraitis. “Employers with more than 50 employees working under them on average must announce their measures for the implementation of principles of the implementation of equal opportunity policies and the supervision of their enforcement. Furthermore, the Labour Code provides parents with a more flexible system of industrial relations and working hours which facilitate the coordination of familial obligations, study, and work.”

The necessity of increasing the awareness of companies, organisations, social partners and the public, highlighted by the Minister, has resulted in the provision of different types of training, events, and information campaigns, such as the commemoration of the Equal Pay Day, awards for gender equality in the workplace and municipalities, female leadership events, etc. In 2016, the Lithuanian gender pay gap was 14.4% (as compared to the EU average which currently stands at 16.2%), with the largest gap — 38.3% — being observed in the finance and insurance sector.

The EPSCO has endorsed the conclusions of the European Commission regarding the Annual Growth Survey 2018 and the Joint Employment Report, as well as the Joint Employment Report itself. Furthermore, the EPSCO has approved the Commission’s recommendations regarding the high-quality, efficient European apprenticeship system, and the Employment Committee’s core guidelines for the implementation of the Youth Guarantee Initiative.