Gender pay gap rules in detail

    French law requires organisations with at least 50 employees to annually publish indicators relating to the pay gap between women and men based on average pay.

    Large organisations must also measure the following four additional indicators:

    • the salary-increase-rate gap between women and men;
    • the promotion rate gap between women and men (organisations employing between 50 and 250 employees are not required to measure this indicator);
    • the percentage of women benefiting from a salary increase in the year following their return from maternity leave;
    • the number of employees of the under-represented sex amongst the ten highest paid employees.

    All private employers are subject to these reporting obligations, as are public bodies with employees under private law. While only organisations with at least 50 employees are subject to the reporting obligations, all employers must comply with the general principle of equal pay between women and men and must 'consider' eliminating the gender pay gap.

    The reports must be published each year on 1 March at the latest on the organisation’s website. If it does not have a website, the report must be communicated to the employees by some other means. The dates of the first reports under the legislation are staggered as follows:

    • 1 March 2019 for organisations with over 1,000 employees;
    • 1 September 2019 for organisations with between 250 and 1,000 employees;
    • 1 March 2020, for organisations with between 50 and 250 employees.

    The Social and Economic Committee (works council) and the labour authorities must be provided with the results, certain information to help them understand the methodology used, and, where applicable, any corrective measures proposed or implemented.

    If the annual report indicates that the organisation’s indicators are below a minimum level, it must take measures to 'comply' (i.e. improve the annual indicators) within three years.

    There are no specific criminal sanctions for breach of these reporting requirements. An administrative penalty of up to 1% of payroll may be imposed by the labour authorities if a report is not published or if no corrective action has been taken by the end of three years. It is not possible for employees to make claims on the basis of this law, but it may help them indirectly to strengthen a discrimination case.

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    Author: Capstan Avocats

    Date: July 2020