The revised Gender Equality Act, which enters into force on 1 July 2020, requires employers with at least 100 employees to conduct an internal ‘wage equality analysis‘. This analysis is to be repeated every four years until an analysis demonstrates that the principle of equal pay has been achieved.
Employers subject to the Swiss Code of Obligations must submit their wage equality analysis to an independent review, either by an accredited auditor, by an equal pay expert organisation or by an employee representative body constituted in accordance with the Participation Act. Employers must inform their employees in writing no later than one year after completion of the review on the results of the wage equality analysis. Listed companies must also publish the results of the wage equality analysis in the appendix to their annual financial statements.
As far as timing is concerned, the first wage equality analysis must be finalised by 30 June 2021 and reviewed by 30 June 2022. Employees and shareholders must be informed of the results of the reviewed wage equality analysis by 30 June 2023.
Employers that do not comply with these equal pay analysis obligations are not subject to legal sanctions, but run reputational risks. Listed companies, however, can be sanctioned under Swiss stock market law if they violate the obligation to publish the results of the reviewed wage equality analysis in the appendix to their annual financial statements. The results of the wage equality analysis may lead to individual claims regarding wage discrimination.
The new legal provisions regarding the wage equality analysis will be in force for a limited term of 12 years (i.e. until 30 June 2032).