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Equality planning at workplaces is becoming more diversified

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
25.2.2009 9.30
Press release -

Gender equality planning has increased and is more diversified than before. Pay surveys regarding men’s and women’s pay have become an integral part of the planning. Altogether 56 per cent of the workplaces that have conducted a pay survey have found differences in pay between women and men. In many cases, this observation has not led to any measures however. These results appear from a study on gender equality planning and pay surveys in Finland in 2008 carried out by the Work Research Centre of the University of Tampere, which was published on 25 February in Helsinki.

It can be considered a worrying finding that employee representatives are seldom involved in equality planning, stated the Minister for Equality Stefan Wallin at the press conference arranged on account of the publication of the report. He is of the opinion that there is much to improve in regard to openness in equality planning.

Openness improves the quality of equality planning and helps the staff to recognise their rights and obligations in regard to gender equality. According to the employer representatives, the most important impact of equality planninghas been that it has furthered the reconciliation of work and family life. Large workplaces have drawn up gender equality plans more often than small workplaces.

Altogether 764 representatives of personnel administration replied to the questionnaire. The response rate was 51 per cent, and the respondents represent the private and public sector and the Evangelical Lutheran church.

The Government will submit a report on the effectiveness of the Act on Equality between Women and Men towards the end of 2009. This report commissioned by the Equal Pay Programme of the Government and central labour market organisations from the University of Tampere will provide information on gender equality plans and subsequent measures. This year the Equal Pay Programme will also survey in more detail the practices of workplaces in drawing up equality plans.

The law amendment has put pressure on employers

The Act obliges the employers to make an equality plan and a pay survey annually. This obligation applies to workplaces with a regular staff of at least 30 persons.

The amended Act of 2005 lays down the minimum requirements for gender equality planning. This has increased the pressure on employers: 62 per cent of the workplaces have drawn up a gender equality plan, while 60 per cent have made a pay survey. A pay survey has been conducted by 77 per cent of the state workplaces, 60 per cent of the private sector workplaces, 58 of the municipal workplaces, and 44 per cent of the workplaces of the Evangelical Lutheran church.

For further information contact:

Katja Uosukainen, M.Sc. Admin. (report), University of Tampere, Work Research Centre, tel. (03) 3551 7874, Outi Viitamaa-Tervonen, Project Coordinator (Equal Pay Programme), tel. 050 545 0259, Pamela Sinclair, Senior Officer (gender equality legislation), tel. 050 545 0241.

Tasa-arvosuunnitelmat ja palkkakartoitukset Suomessa 2008 (Gender Equality Planning and Pay Surveys in Finland 2008). Reports of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2009:11, an English summary at www.stm.fi > Publications.

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