Unions: Debts of the pension system will help to solve the elimination of the gap in earnings between women and men

Unions: Debts of the pension system will help to solve the elimination of the gap in earnings between women and men

Unions: Pension system debt will help close pay gap

Female workers at work in the production hall – illustrative photo.

Prague – Debts of the pension system and insufficient income for the payment of pensions would help solve the gap in the earnings of women and men, according to the trade unions. The premium collected would rise significantly. Trade unionists propose a mandatory reconciliation of salaries and wages after returning from parental leave. The chairman of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS) Josef Středula told journalists today. The equal pay plan, which was approved by the government last year, envisages the enforcement of the so-called indexation of earnings after the parental allowance.

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According to experts, motherhood has a major impact on women's lower incomes. Due to child care and absence from work, the earnings of other colleagues no longer catch up. They also have smaller pensions. The state collects less taxes and levies from them. This year, pension expenses should be higher than collected insurance premiums by roughly 80 billion crowns.

“The fact that there are no funds in the (pension) system is a problem of the income gap between women and men… If the gap could be reduced, it could have a fundamentally positive effect on the pension system. Perhaps the numbers will look completely different. They will not have a negative sign, but a plus sign,” said the head of the trade union headquarters.

The unions propose to legislate the valorization of parents' earnings after parental earnings. Either they should increase by inflation or they should grow according to collective agreements just like everyone else's income. “When the parent returns, it should be taken into account. The minister (Marian Jurečka) responded that he sees it as a necessity and an obligation for the state. We welcomed that. But it must also concern the private sphere,” believes Středula. According to him, the measure would secure billions in the system.

The indexation of earnings after returning from parental leave is also mentioned among the measures in the government's equal pay plan. “Persons who return from 'important personal obstacles to work on the part of the employee', the employer is obliged to place them in a job under wage and salary conditions that correspond to the current value of the given work, not to keep the salary at the level it was before leaving, ” it says in the material. Its authors state that this obligation already applies according to the current legislation. “It is necessary to supervise its consistent application,” the document says. In it, the cabinet instructs the Ministry of Labor and the Inspectorate to support the principle of equal pay for equal work in practice until 2026 “in particular so that employers compare the amount of wages of male and female employees upon returning from parental leave with the current amount for others”. Inspectors should check equal pay more. The resort is to prepare information leaflets.

According to a government document, in 2020 women earned on average 17 percent less than men. They had an average of 15 percent less in the same workplace, 13 percent in the same job category (CZ-ISCO classification) and nine percent for the same job in the same place. The difference was 15 percent for men and women with primary education, 22 percent for apprentices, 19 percent for high school students with a high school diploma, and 26 percent for college students. The differences in the average number of hours worked are very small and the difference in remuneration cannot be explained by them, the document states.