Gender pay transparency

Gender pay
transparency

A global guide to reporting obligations across 55 jurisdictions

About this guide

Equality reporting, and a drive towards pay transparency and equity, continues to be high on the agenda of legislators across the globe. 

This December 2023 edition of our Gender pay transparency: A global guide to reporting obligations gives a summary of recent developments across 55 jurisdictions. 

Our guide tracks the approach taken to mandatory gender pay gap reporting by 55 jurisdictions, providing at-a-glance information on the critical details businesses need to know. Full information for each country is only available to our GENIE subscribers.

You can view content for a single country, or generate comparisons on a specific topic for multiple jurisdictions at a time. To get started, click on the map below, or select your countries and topic of interest from the dropdown menu.

To create a fully customised pdf report, click Create custom report.

 

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Jurisdictions covered

Select a country below to discover whether mandatory obligations to report gender pay gaps apply.

Duty to report on
gender pay difference

No duty to report on
gender pay difference

Country Is there a duty on employers to report on gender pay difference? 1 Is there a legal sanction for non-compliance with any legal duty? Is the report required, or likely to be, published externally? Are employers required to take steps to reduce any identified gender pay gap?
Argentina cross N/A N/A N/A
Australia tick cross tick cross
Austria tick tick cross cross
Bahrain cross N/A N/A N/A
Belgium tick tick cross tick
Brazil tick tick tick tick
Canada 2 tick tick cross tick
Chile cross N/A N/A N/A
China cross N/A N/A N/A
Colombia cross N/A N/A N/A
Czech Republic cross N/A N/A N/A
Denmark tick tick cross cross
Finland tick tick cross tick
France tick tick tick tick
Germany tick cross tick tick
Hong Kong cross N/A N/A N/A
Hungary cross N/A N/A N/A
India tick tick cross tick
Ireland tick tick tick tick
Israel tick cross tick cross
Italy tick tick cross cross
Japan tick cross tick cross
Jordan cross N/A N/A N/A
Kenya cross N/A N/A N/A
Kuwait cross N/A N/A N/A
Luxembourg cross N/A N/A N/A
Malaysia cross N/A N/A N/A
Mexico cross N/A N/A N/A
Morocco cross N/A N/A N/A
Netherlands cross N/A N/A N/A
New Zealand cross N/A N/A N/A
Nigeria cross N/A N/A N/A
Norway tick tick tick tick
Oman cross N/A N/A N/A
Peru cross N/A N/A N/A
Philippines cross N/A N/A N/A
Poland cross N/A N/A N/A
Portugal 3 tick tick tick tick
Qatar cross N/A N/A N/A
Romania cross N/A N/A N/A
Saudi Arabia cross N/A N/A N/A
Singapore cross N/A N/A N/A
Slovakia cross N/A N/A N/A
South Africa 4 tick tick cross cross
South Korea tick tick tick tick
Spain tick tick tick tick
Sweden tick tick cross tick
Switzerland cross N/A N/A N/A
Taiwan cross N/A N/A N/A
Thailand cross N/A N/A N/A
United Arab Emirates cross N/A N/A N/A
Uganda cross N/A N/A N/A
United Kingdom tick cross tick cross
United States 5 tick tick cross tick
Venezuela cross N/A N/A N/A

1: In many countries, the duty will only apply where a certain employee threshold is met. In some countries, there may be different / additional duties on government or state sector companies.
2: Certain provinces in Canada only.
3: No general duty, but in some circumstances a duty may be triggered.
4: Only if they are a designated employer.
5: There is no general duty for employers to report on gender pay differences under federal law as of May 2023; however, federal contractors are required to conduct analyses of their total employment processes, including compensation systems, to determine whether there are gender, race, or ethnicity-based disparities, and such audits may be requested during a compliance evaluation. Certain states and localities (eg California, Illinois) may have laws requiring covered employers to assess and / or report on gender pay differences or take other affirmative actions.

Recent developments

The business case for pay transparency

In recent years, there has been an upward global trend in the implementation of new legal measures aimed at addressing pay equity. This trend continues to gather pace as more and more jurisdictions turn their focus to tackling this issue. It is now a business imperative to understand existing obligations, as well as those on the horizon, and to consider how pay equity and transparency developments impact on your talent strategies.

Adoption of the EU gender pay transparency directive

2023 has seen an important step forward in implementation of new regulation at European level. In April 2023, the European Council gave the final approval to a new directive seeking to strengthen the principle of equal pay through pay transparency. The new directive has now been signed into law and Member States have until 7 June 2026 to introduce domestic laws to give effect to the directive’s requirements. A period of legislative activity therefore lies ahead and, by no later than summer 2026, we can expect to see a wealth of new governance in this area in Europe.

Requirements of the EU gender pay transparency directive

In brief, the directive requires Member States to legislate, as a minimum, for:

  • Job applicants to have the right to receive information about initial pay, or its range, with a ban on employers asking job applicants about their pay history with existing or previous employers. Employers must make easily accessible to their workers the criteria that are used to determine workers’ pay, pay levels and (for employers with 50 or more employees) pay progression.
  • Measures to prohibit contractual terms that restrict workers from disclosing information about their pay.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees to provide information on their gender pay gap, including the proportion of female and male workers receiving complementary or variable components of pay. The timeframe for compliance, and frequency of reporting, depends on employer size.
  • Joint pay assessments to be conducted where published gender pay gap information demonstrates an objectively unjustified difference in the average pay level between female and male workers of at least 5%, and the employer has not remedied this difference within six months of its pay report.
  • For workers who have sustained damages to be able to obtain full, real and effective compensation or reparation. Compensation must include full recovery of back pay and related bonuses or payments in kind, compensation for lost opportunities, non-material damage, any damage caused by other relevant factors, as well as interest on arrears. Compensation must not be capped.

For further details, please see our previous article.

Impact of the EU gender pay transparency directive

The requirements of the directive have the potential to have wide-ranging ramifications for employers. For those based in EU jurisdictions, such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain, which already have extensive provisions requiring employers to be transparent about gender pay differences, a watching brief will need to be maintained to see how these countries adapt, or supplement, existing regulations to align with the EU directive. In Finland, the government has specifically announced that it will be promoting pay transparency in accordance with the minimum requirements of the directive. Generally, it appears inevitable that familiar existing obligations may well be extended, or even upturned, requiring employers to get to grips with a host of new requirements.

Other jurisdictions, including the Netherlands, Romania, Luxembourg and Hungary, will have to introduce laws addressing gender pay gaps for the first time. Whilst having a blank canvas to work with, these Member States still have an onerous task in determining how to give effect to the directive domestically. Employers should not underestimate the potential timescale for understanding and implementing the new obligations and should consider taking early steps to ensure they are able to comply.

The UK is not required (post-Brexit) to implement the new directive but, although once arguably ahead of the curve in terms of tackling gaps in gender pay, may now be seen as slipping behind European progress in this area. Multi-national operations will have to consider how best to align their gender pay strategy in the UK with other European jurisdictions. This may well result in businesses deciding to put in place processes which actually exceed the minimum standards they are legally obliged to implement in the UK.

Developments outside Europe

Other countries outside of the EU are similarly imposing obligations in relation to mandatory pay reporting and transparency.

This includes the US, where an increasing number of states and localities have passed salary transparency laws in recent years, including California; Colorado; Connecticut; Cincinnati, Ohio; Jersey City, New Jersey; Maryland; Nevada; New York City; Rhode Island; and Washington. Requirements vary, challenging multi-state employers. Some states also require employer reporting (eg California and Illinois).

Most recently, New York State’s law took effect on 17 September 2023, requiring businesses with four or more employees to list accurate compensation ranges for specified jobs and promotions. Employers must also clearly state if a position is commission-based.

Hawaii’s law takes effect on 1 January 2024, and Illinois’ law in January 2025. The amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act require employers with 15 or more employees to disclose pay scales and benefits (including bonuses, stock options or other incentives) in job postings and to notify current employees of all promotion opportunities within 14 business days of posting the job externally.

Employers are likely to see more changes in this area, with bills pending in a number of jurisdictions. States and localities also continue to enact laws restricting the ability of employers to inquire into an applicant’s salary history and/or prohibiting retaliation against an employee for discussing wages or compensation with co-workers.

In Canada, the British Columbia Pay Transparency Act came into force in May 2023 and prohibits all public and private sector employers in British Columbia from asking job candidates for pay history information. Effective 1 November 2023, employers must also post salary ranges on publicly advertised jobs. Notably, the law also requires specified employers to publish a pay transparency report on a publicly accessible website. For now, only a narrow range of employers must comply (for example, provincial government agencies); however, from 2024, all private employers with at least 1,000 employees will be required to report. This threshold will reduce to 300 employees in 2025 and 50 employees in 2026.

In Brazil, a new Equal Pay Law took effect in July 2023, requiring all companies with more than 100 employees to publish a salary transparency report every six months. The report must cover the criteria set out in the General Data Protection Law and provide, in anonymised form, information necessary to enable a comparison, and impartial evaluation, of remuneration criteria and of the proportion of men and women in leadership positions. The data provided must be accompanied by statistical data on other possible inequalities arising in relation to race, ethnicity, nationality and age.

Australia is also expanding reporting obligations. While employers with at least 100 employees have had mandatory annual pay reporting obligations for a number of years, from early 2024 employers must provide additional data. In addition, for the first time, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency will have the power to publicly publish an employer’s gender pay gap.

Preparing for the future

As we move forward, employers can expect more developments on this front and companies need to ensure that gender pay issues form an important part of their overall risk assessment strategy. In particular, the mandatory pay audits being introduced in Europe for employers with unjustified pay gaps should serve to bring the issue into sharp focus and reinforce the attention which employers need to pay to this issue. In some circumstances, employers may wish to consider conducting a preparatory audit to expose any potential issues, particularly as this can potentially be conducted in consultation with legal counsel in a manner designed to protect confidentiality and privilege to the greatest extent under applicable law.

Please reach out to any member of the DLA Piper Employment Group, or your DLA Piper relationship partner, to discuss your pay strategy further and find out how we can help.

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