According to French Labor law, the employer must ensure equal pay for men and women when they perform the same work or work of equal value. This is a particular variation of the so-called principle of “equal pay for equal work”.
This principle of equality presupposes that the various components of remuneration are established according to identical standards for men and women, including: classification and promotion criteria, bases for calculating remuneration and job evaluation methods.
Definitions of the implied notions
For the purposes of the principle of equality between men and women, the notion of remuneration can be defined as the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and all other benefits paid, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, by the employer to the employee by reason of the latter’s employment.
- professional knowledge established by a title, a diploma or professional practice;
- abilities resulting from acquired experience;
- responsibilities; and
- physical or mental strain.
Limits of the equality principle
Naturally, differences of pay may be accepted but they have to be justified by objective elements, which are determined mainly by case law.
Also, the notion of work of equal value has to be precisely determined considering the fact that a difference of position does not always justify a difference of remuneration.
This article was first published in September 2022 by Loïc Héron, Partner at our French member firm MGG LEGAL. For questions on this topic and to see how our French member firm can assist you, visit their website.