Spain tightens rules on sex discrimination in pay

People walk outside the Arenas de Barcelona shopping mall in Barcelona, Spain, on Oct 7, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (REUTERS) - Spain's government passed a decree on Tuesday (Oct 13) to tighten rules on sex discrimination in pay, requiring companies to disclose the gender breakdown of staff wages, and setting up a framework to determine whether different jobs have the same value.

"The message is very clear: women must be paid the same as men for doing the same jobs," Equality Minister Irene Montero told a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Ms Montero said the government had to be proactive to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from worsening the gender pay gap.

"In this emergency situation we know that there will be no economic recovery if we don't end the pay gap once and for all," she said.

Companies that fail to disclose the breakdown of wages by gender would face fines of up to 187,000 euros (S$300,000), Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said.

"You can't play around with fundamental rights," she said.

Since coming to power in January, Spain's left-wing coalition government has made bolstering women's rights a cornerstone of its political programme.

The government has also been pushing for tougher sexual violence laws. Ministers aim to change the definition of rape to cover all non-consensual sex, after a high-profile case in which defendants in a gang rape initially faced lesser charges because prosecutors could not prove they used violence. That ruling was overturned and the attackers were convicted of rape last year.

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