The Freedom to Choose a Professional Future Act of 5 September 2018 and a Decree of 8 January 2019 require companies with at least 50 employees to publish once a year, indicators relating to the pay gap between women and men based on average pay.
Large companies must also measure the following four additional indicators:
- the salary-increase-rate gap between women and men;
- promotion rate gap between women and men;
- 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.
Note that companies employing between 50 and 250 employees do not have to evaluate the promotion rate gap.
All private employers are subject to the reporting obligations, as are public bodies with employees under private law. While only companies with at least 50 employees are subject to the reporting obligations, all companies 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 company website. If none, 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 companies with over 1,000 employees;
- 1 September 2019 for companies with between 250 and 1,000 employees;
- 1 March 2020, for companies of between 50 and 250 employees.
The Social and Economic Committee (works council) and the labour authorities must be provided with the results of the indicators, certain information to help them understand the methodology used, and, where applicable, any corrective measures envisaged or implemented.
If the annual report indicates that the company is below a minimum level, the company must take measures to 'comply' (improve the annual indicators) within three years.
There are no specific criminal sanctions for breach. 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 the law, but it may help them indirectly to strengthen a case.