ResearchPDF Available

Certified Equality: The Icelandic Equal Pay Standard

Authors:

Abstract

In 2018, Iceland introduced a statutory certification process for companies and institutions with over 25 employees, which, through this process, must prove that they pay men and women the same for the same job. This mechanism moves the burden of proof from employee to employer and forces companies to develop a more transparent system for the way they value different jobs. The purpose of the certification process is to close the relatively small but sustained wage gap between the genders. Based on qualitative in-depth interviews with key government informants, social partners and HR leaders in Iceland, this report takes an initial look at how the Icelandic Equal Pay Standard was established and how it works in practice.
INSTITUTE
FORSOCIAL
RESEARC
Ines Wagner
Report 2018:11
Certified Equality
The Icelandic Equal Pay Standard
© Institute for Social Research
Report 2018:11
Institutt for samfunnsforskning
Munthes gate 31
PO Box 3233 Elisenberg
NO-0208 Oslo, Norway
ISBN: 978-82-7763-606-1
ISSN 1891-4314
www.samfunnsforskning.no
3
Content
Preface ........................................................... 5
Summary ......................................................... 7
Introduction ...................................................... 9
Gender and Working Life in Iceland................................. 11
Data and Methods ................................................. 16
The Equal Pay Management System ................................ 18
Years in the Making .............................................. 18
From Voluntary to Mandatory ...................................... 20
Work of Equal Value: Implementation and Certication............... 22
Implementation of the Icelandic Equal Pay Standard:
An example of one company ....................................... 27
Discussion ....................................................... 31
Conclusion ....................................................... 35
References ....................................................... 37
5
Preface
This report presents the results from eight interviews with key informants in
government, businesses and trade unions in Iceland, conducted as part of the
Review of the Equal Pay Standard in Iceland project, which was funded by
the Norwegian Ministry for Children and Equality and headed by Anne Skevik
Grødem. The most important sources in the project are policy documents and
in-depth semi-structured interviews with key informants. The main objective
of the project was to review what the standard entails and which positive and
negative consequences it has had. An important part of the project was also to
discuss the Icelandic standard in comparison to measures that have been pro-
posed in Norway to promote equal pay, the results of which are published in the
ISF report Sertisert likestilling: Likelønnsstandarden på Island. The project is
also part of CORE – Centre for Research on Gender Equality at the Norwegian
Institute for Social Research. I am grateful for the constructive comments from
Anne Skevik Grødem, Mari Teigen, Kjersti Misje Østbakken, Guðbjörg Linda
Rafnsdottir and Christina Stoltenberg.
Oslo, 14. June 2018
Ines Wagner
7
Summary
Author Ines Wagner
Title CertiedEquality
TheIcelandicEqualPayStandard
Summary In2018,Icelandintroducedastatutorycerticationprocessforcompanies
andinstitutionswithover25employees,which,throughthisprocess,must
provethattheypaymenandwomenthesameforthesamejob.This
mechanismmovestheburdenofprooffromemployeetoemployerand
forcescompaniestodevelopamoretransparentsystemforthewaythey
valuedifferentjobs.Thepurposeofthecerticationprocessistoclosethe
relativelysmallbutsustainedwagegapbetweenthegenders.Basedon
qualitativein-depthinterviewswithkeygovernmentinformants,socialpart-
nersandHRleadersinIceland,thisreporttakesaninitiallookathowthe
IcelandicEqualPayStandardwasestablishedandhowitworksinpractice.
ThendingsshowthattheIcelandicEqualPayStandardmovesfocusfrom
individualexplanationsofwhywomenearnlessthanmen,toestablishing
asupportiveinstitutionalenvironmentforequalpaybetweenthegendersat
thecorporatelevel.«Supportive»meanspublicsupport,butalso
atransparentenvironmentinwhichcasesofinequalitycannotremain
unknownorhidden.
Keywords EqualPay,Iceland,Gender,LabourRelations
9
Introduction
Iceland has been praised for its equality between men and women. According to
the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap rankings, since 2009, Iceland
is the country that is closest to gender equality in its society and economy1.
Recently, it also became the world’s rst nation to make equal pay mandatory
for companies and institutions with more than 25 employees (on a full-time
yearly basis). Companies and institutions of that size have to prove that they pay
men and women equally for the same job by obtaining certication for their
equal pay system. In Iceland it has been illegal to discriminate between men and
women doing the same work since 1961. However, the bill of law passed in
2017 by the Icelandic Parliament (Alþingi) (amending the previous Gender
Equality Act No. 10/2008), and implemented only at the beginning of 2018,
makes an important contribution. It shifts the burden of proof from the
employee to the employer, and therefore forces companies to create a more
transparent system of how they value different jobs. According to the law,
employers have to go through a mandatory external certication process that
checks whether their salary system pays equally for the same job.
The main goal of the standard is to create a system that could conrm that
“women and men, working for the same employer, were paid equal wages and
enjoyed equal terms of employment for the same jobs or jobs of equal value,
unless such differences can be justied by relevant considerations” (IST 85).
In practice, this means that the company has to implement a transparent pay
system. This implementation should also increase general job satisfaction and
make managers more aware of issues regarding pay in relation to gender or
minorities. The end result of this should be a more transparent and just pay
system. Even though the Equal Pay Standard was initially designed to be a
voluntary measure, the act now applies to about 1,180 employers and 147,000
employees, which represents about 80% of those who are active on the labour
market (Ministry of Welfare, 2018). The largest workplaces (with 250 or more
employees) have until 31 December 2018 to obtain their certication, whereas
smaller workplaces will have more time to comply with the new legislation
(e.g., those with 25–89 employees have until 31 December 2021).
1 http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf
10
The Equal Pay Standard builds on a long history of gender equality legislation
in Iceland, but is also a reaction to the persistence of the gap despite regulatory
efforts. This invoked concerns that even strictly worded legislation on equal pay
would not be able to close the gender pay gap in the labour market. A recent
survey from Statistics Iceland (Snævarr, 2015 quoted in Olafsson, 2017)
showed, for example, that the unexplained gender pay gap stood at 5.7% in
2013. This gure represents the difference between men and women who are
very similar in terms of labour market characteristics. The unexplained pay gap
is, therefore, the gender difference in pay that can be attributed to discrimination
against women. Top level and intermediate managers are mostly men
(Rafnsdóttir, Axelsdóttir, Diðriksdóttir and Einarsdóttir, 2015; Rafnsdóttir,
Einarsdóttir and Snorrason, 2014), and the pay gap is especially persistent for
working mothers and women in female-dominated elds2. With the new law
in effect, the Icelandic government aims to close the unexplained gender gap
entirely by 2022.
Based on eight qualitative in-depth, semi-structured interviews with key
informants comprised of government ofcials, social partners, and human
resource managers in Iceland, this report takes a closer, but still preliminary,
look at how the Equal Pay Standard came about and how it has worked in
practice so far. First, women’s pay and participation in the labour market will be
described. Second, it will explain how the Equal Pay Management System was
created and implemented into law. Third, it will discuss how some companies
have experienced the implementation of the law and the certication process.
Fourth, it will discuss the ndings and then conclude.
2 https://www.statice.is/publications/news-archive/wages-and-income/unadjusted-gpg-2015/
11
GenderandWorkingLifeinIceland
Iceland’s population of 337,000 yields a comparatively small labour market,
with around 200,200 employed in 20183. The main characteristics of the
Icelandic labour market are a high level of union density, high labour force
participation rate, long working hours, low incidence of part-time employment,
and late retirement (Ólafsdóttir and Ólafsson, 2014). The Icelandic labour
movement has a high level of organisation and also a high level of centralisation
in confederations, with a great capacity for cooperation and coordination. In
most cases collective bargaining takes place between the Icelandic
Confederation of Labour (ASÍ) and Business Iceland (SA). Bargaining rights,
however, are held by individual unions (Ólafsdóttir and Ólafsson, 2014).
Iceland shares its welfare model and approach to gender equality with the other
Nordic countries, in the sense that the state facilitates the combining of caring
responsibilities with paid employment (Heijstra, Connor and Rafnsdottir, 2013;
Rafnsdóttir and Júlíusdóttir, 2018). This institutional setting puts Iceland at the
forefront of political empowerment and educational attainment and in the top
ten in women’s economic participation and opportunity (World Economic
Forum, 2016). Figure 1, which shows the employment rates among women and
men in a selection of European countries, conrms this: women in Iceland have
very high occupational participation.
3 https://www.statice.is/publications/publication-detail?id=59844.
12
Figure 1. Employment among women and men, 20–64 years, 2017.
Selected countries in Europe.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Greece
Italy
Spain
Romania
Belgium
Poland
Hungary
EU (28)
France
Ireland
Bulgaria
Czech Republic
Austria
Finland
Latvia
The Netherlands
Great Britain
Denmark
Estonia
Germany
Lithuania
Norway
Switzerland
Sweden
Iceland
Male Female
Source: Eurostat 2018.
Figure 1 shows that 85 percent of Icelandic women are in paid employment,
higher than in any other European country. Also, Icelandic men have a higher
employment rate than men in other European countries; a total of 91 percent of
Icelandic men are in paid employment. This means that although Icelandic
women are very often in work, the distance between the employment rate for
women and men is similar to that in many other countries. In Norway, the corre-
sponding gures are 76 and 80 percent, respectively. The employment level in
Norway is therefore high, but still slightly lower than in Iceland. By compar-
ison, 48 and 53 percent of women in Greece and Italy are in paid employment
respectively, and 67 percent of women in the EU (28 countries) as a whole.
13
GenderandWorkingLifeinIceland
Figure 2. Part-time work as a proportion of all employed. Women and Men,
15–60 years, 2017. Selected countries in Europe.
0,0 10,0 20,0 30,0 40,0 50,0 60, 0 70,0 80,0
Bulgaria
Hungary
Romania
Lithuania
Poland
Latvia
Czech Republic
Estonia
Greece
Finland
Spain
France
Ireland
EU (28)
Italy
Sweden
Denmark
Iceland
Norway
Great Britain
Belgium
Germany
Austria
The Netherlands
Male Female
Source: Eurostat 2018.
The Nordic countries rank highly in international employment-level overviews.
Two other indicators help to nuance this: gender segregation in the labour
market and the high proportion of part-time workers. Figure 2 shows the pro-
portion of part-time work among men and women in a selection of European
countries. The Netherlands stands out with a very high proportion of part-time
work: 76 percent of the country’s employed women work part-time. This is also
the only country in Europe where the proportion of part-time men is higher than
20 percent (27 percent). The proportion of part-time work in Norway and
Iceland is relatively similar: 37 and 36 percent for women, and 15 and 12
percent for men, respectively. The gender balance in the labour market is also a
key issue in the discussion of equal pay in the Nordic countries. Figure 3 shows
14
the proportion of women and men in female-dominated and male-dominated
industries in ve Nordic countries in 2016.
Figure 3. Proportion of women and men in female-dominated / male-
dominated industries. All employed, Norden, 2015.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Denmark
Finland
Iceland
Norway
Sweden
Denmark
Finland
Iceland
Norway
Sweden
Male-dominated sectors Female-dominated sectors
Male
Female
Source:NordicCouncilofMinisters2016.
Male-dominated sectors include primary industries, mining, electricity
generation, water, renovation, construction, warehousing, transportation, IT and
telecommunications. Female-dominated sectors include education, health care
services and other services. In Norway, 47 percent of employed men work in
male-dominated sectors, while only 14 percent work in female-dominated
sectors. The remaining 39 percent work in industries that are neither male- nor
female-dominated. Among women, 50 percent work in female-dominated
sectors and 13 percent in male-dominated sectors. The situation in Iceland is
relatively similar: 46 percent of men work in male-dominated sectors and 11
percent in female-dominated sectors. Meanwhile, 42 percent of women work in
female-dominated sectors and 18 percent in male-dominated. The proportion of
women in male-dominated occupations is higher in Iceland than in the other
Nordic countries, but in Iceland the labour market is still highly gender-divided.
The high proportion of women working part-time and the highly gender-divided
labour market are perceived as the two main barriers to equal pay. Considering
that women’s participation in working life is slightly higher in Iceland than in
Norway, the proportion of part-time employees is a little lower, and that the
labour market is more gender-balanced, one would think that the gender pay gap
was also slightly lower in Iceland. However, that is not the case, as shown by
15
GenderandWorkingLifeinIceland
current statistics. Figure 4 shows how much lower women’s average hourly
wage is than men in a variety of European countries.4
Figure 4. Difference between women and men’s average hourly wage.
Unadjusted. All employed, 2016. Selected countries in Europe.
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Romania
Italy
Belgium
Poland
Sweden
Hungary
Spain
Bulgaria
Lithuania
Norway
Denmark
France
Netherlands
EU (28)
Iceland
Latvia
Switzerland
Finland
Austria
Great Britain
Germany
Czech Republic
Estonia
Source: Eurostat 2016.
In Norway in 2016, employed women earned an average of 14.9 percent less
than employed men per hour. The gures are not adjusted for differences in
working hours (full-time/part-time) or industry. In Iceland, women earned an
average of 16.3 percent less per hour. The wage gap between women and men is
thus a bit larger in Iceland than it is in Norway. A curiosity in this context is that
the wage gap in Iceland is slightly higher than in the EU area in general, while
in Norway it is slightly lower (the average for the EU is 16.2 percent).
4 ThedatafromEurostatisbasedonaEuropeansurvey‘theStructureofEarningsSurvey’.
16
DataandMethods
The analysis in this report draws on eight in-depth interviews with key informants
in government, business associations, trade unions, and human resource
management departments in Iceland and international management standards
experts conducted as part of the Review of the Equal Pay Standard in Iceland
project, which was funded by the Norwegian Ministry for Children and Equality
and headed by Anne Skevik Grødem. The main objective of the project was to
review what the standard entails and which positive and negative consequences
it has had. An important part of the project was also to discuss the Icelandic
standard in comparison to measures that have been proposed in Norway to
promote equal pay. The most important sources for the project are policy docu-
ments and in-depth semi-structured interviews with key informants. In the
semi-structured interviews, the interviewer had a checklist of topic areas or
questions but the intention was to urge the informants to talk in their own terms,
allowing for a range of possible responses. This approach is useful when the
informants are diverse actors and when the issue area is relatively unexplored.
In this report, the qualitative interviews were analysed using qualitative analysis
coding tools. Five informants were involved in designing the standard, while
three informants had experiences with implementing the standard. The sample
consisted of ve women and three men. The interviews were recorded, tran-
scribed and analysed by the interviewer. They lasted about one to two hours and
were conducted either at the interviewees’ ofce or via telephone. The questions
focused on the interviewees’ experiences with developing and implementing the
standard. The interviewees were asked about their viewpoints and thoughts
about the standard, the way it came about, how it is working on the ground, its
effectiveness and whether it can contribute to closing the gender pay gap. The
interviews were conducted only one month after the law became mandatory.
Although most interviewees had already been involved in the design and
implementation for years, the interviews are not able to reect on the long-term
impact and pros and cons of the mandatory standard. Moreover, the interviews
with representatives from the HR departments of companies and institutions that
implemented the standard are already representative of large organisations that
have a well-staffed human resource department and experience with the imple-
mentation of other management standards. This is interesting in terms of being
able to compare experiences with the Equal Pay Standard with experiences with
17
DataandMethods
other management standards, but it does not consider how smaller companies
with no dedicated human resource department or without such previous experi-
ences will experience the implementation of the Equal Pay Standard.
18
TheEqualPayManagementSystem
Years in the Making
The bill of the so-called Equal Pay Standard, a short form of the more technical
‘ÍST Standard 85: 2012 - Equal Pay Management System’, was introduced to
the Icelandic Parliament by Þorsteinn Viglundsson, the Minister of Social
Affairs and Equality, in 2017. The Equal Pay Standard existed before as a
voluntary measure mostly used by large companies as part of their marketing
strategy. The overall concept has been in preparation since 2008 and was initi-
ated by the social partners the Icelandic Confederation of Labour, ASÍ and SA–
Business Iceland. Þorsteinn Viglundsson, who was also the Managing Director
of SA–Business Iceland from 2013 to 2016, said, the trade unions proposed
that we should develop some kind of equal pay mechanism, which quickly
developed into the methodology of an international management standard. And
that was in development between 2008 and 2012 (Interview, 2018). Equal pay
has always been a regular part of the collective agreement negotiations, but in
2007 the negotiations coincided with the parliamentary revision of the Equal
Pay Act, planned to be undertaken after fty years in effect. Even though the
country was about to celebrate this anniversary, the wage gap between the
genders persisted, causing the social partners to look for alternative ways to
enhance equality.
Their aim was to create a bottom-up alternative, with a toolkit for companies to
use to check whether they were discriminating or whether they had some bias
(Interview, SA, 2018). Accordingly, the trade union and the employers’ associa-
tion signed the collective agreement in February 2008 with a specic mention of
the aim to develop a certication system, in one form or another, that both
parties could agree on. This coincided with the nancial collapse on the 8th and
9th of October 2008. Following the onset of the recession, Iceland’s policy
changed from a focus on adopting the Anglo-Saxon neoliberalism of the 2000s
to emphasizing equality along the lines of the Nordic welfare state (Ólafsdóttir
and Ólafsson, 2014). From then on, the trade union and the employers’ associa-
tion cooperated closely with the Ministry of Welfare in order to design a
mechanism that can contribute to closing the gender pay gap. The tripartite
coalition shared the costs of the development, with the Ministry of Welfare
19
TheEqualPayManagementSystem
contributing ISK 5 million and the trade union and the employers’ association
both contributing ISK 2,5 million (Interview, Trade Union Representative,
2018). Even though the social partners do have a strong institutional voice in the
Icelandic labour market, the cooperation with the state was important because it
represented the public employees, whereas ASI and SA mainly represent the
private sector (Interview, Trade Union Representative, 2018).
The development of the standard took four years, from 2008 to 2012, with
over 100 or more ofcial meetings of the working group as well as countless
unofcial meetings. One of the biggest challenges was to nd and agree on a
mechanism for determining how to value work (Interview, Trade Union
Representative, 2018). A representative from SA–Business Iceland, one of the
people who helped draft the Equal Pay Standard, explains that ‘we looked at
the model of other international standards like environmental standards,
manage ment standards and quality standards and we used that framework to
develop the Equal Pay Standard’ (Interview, Business Iceland Representative,
2018). In fact, the Equal Pay Standard uses the environmental management
standard as a model in how it has been designed, as can be seen in the similarity
in its headings.
Icelandic Standards (IST) agreed to supervise the project and a Technical
Committee (TC)5 was established. According to ASI, Icelandic Standards was
the best-qualied body to support the design of the standard because they could
act as ‘a neutral zone, and they have experiences with other management
systems, like ISO standards on the environment or ISO standards on security’
(Interview, Trade Union Representative, 2018). However, it is important to note
that this was also the rst time for Icelandic Standards to develop a management
standard to evaluate equal pay. After the standard was developed in 2012, the
Ministry of Welfare appointed the Action Group on Equal Pay to continue the
work that started in the technical committee. The main objective of appointing
this committee was to put forward a pilot project. Institutions and companies or
workplaces in the private labour market were invited to take part in this pilot
project over a period of 2–3 years to test the standard and to see whether it was
exible enough, and whether the level of complexity and burden was as low as
possible. The pilot project was completed in 2015 and the Equal Pay Standard
became available to be used by companies on a voluntary basis.
5 Thetechnicalcommitteeincludedthesponsorsoftheproject,aswellasrepresentativesoftheCentre
forGenderEquality,theMinistryofFinance,theFederationofStateandMunicipalEmployees,the
AssociationofAcademics,TheIcelandicAssociationofWomenEntrepreneurs,theAssociationof
LocalAuthoritiesinIceland,aswellasacoupleofprivatecompanies.
20
FromVoluntarytoMandatory
In 2016 the parliamentary elections changed the path of the Equal Pay Standard
signicantly. In the run up to the elections, the newly formed Reform Party6
made gender equality the number one issue in their campaign agenda and
pledged to make the Equal Pay Standard mandatory if they became part of the
new government. Interestingly, at that moment in time, Þorsteinn Viglundsson
decided to change career paths from being the head of SA and therefore inti-
mately familiar with the Equal Pay Standard, to embarking on a political career
as member of the Reform Party. In an unexpected turn of events, the Reform
Party became the third largest party and part of the 2017 coalition government.
In Iceland, it is customary that the Minister of Welfare expands its ofcial title
with the issue that the person wants to champion during ofce. In accordance,
this newly-formed government was the rst one to create the position of the
Minister of Social Affairs and Equality with Viglundsson becoming the rst
Minister of Welfare and Equality.
Viglundsson became a key driver in legislating the voluntary Equal Pay
Standard and made it mandatory for all businesses of a certain size. This was
an unexpected development, but it is not uncommon for such standards to be
formally incorporated into legislative texts. There are a multitude of voluntary
standards that are indicated in specic bills, for example, health and safety
standards for the use of medical devices or environmental standards (Interview
with management standard expert, 2018; to see how the standard was
transposed into law see Regulation No. 1030 of 13 November 2017).7
This created a dilemma for both social partners. ASI and SA had contributed to
the development of the Equal Pay Standard for years, investing substantial
nancial and human resources into its design on the condition that it was
supposed to be, and remain, a voluntary measure. The most obvious sign of this
is that it is a management standard, which are inherently designed to be volun-
tary. For the employers’ association, the precondition for participation in the tri-
partite coalition was that the standard would remain a exible, non-burdensome
and voluntary measure (Interview, Business Iceland Representative, 2018). The
trade union was in an odd position because even though it fully supported the
Equal Pay Standard, the newly appointed Minister of Welfare and Equality was
the former director general of the employers’ association, sparking concerns
over his motives (Interview, Trade Union Representative, 2018). Another point
of contention was the issue of how the Equal Pay Standard would interact or
6 Thepartyisinthemiddleorcentre-rightofthepoliticalspectrum,profree-marketandpro-European.
7
https://www.government.is/library/04-Legislation/Regulation_CerticatinOfEqualPaySytems_25012018.pdf
21
TheEqualPayManagementSystem
could be combined with collective bargaining. During the design of the
standard, this issue was never a point of discussion. However, because the
public support was so substantial, and precisely because of their intensive pre-
vious involvement, it was difcult to oppose or even publicly voice criticism to
an idea that is considered by a large proportion of the population, as well as by
the partners involved, to be favourable for equality between men and women.
Evolution/TimelineoftheEqualPayStandard
2008 • Collective Agreement pledges to develop voluntary certication
Tripartite coalition starts work on developing certication
Standards Iceland is asked to advise on the development of the
standard
Technical Committee appointed who establishes working group
Working Group is responsible for drafting the text of the
standard with the aid of experts in selected elds
2012: Action Group is formed
2013: Pilot project starts
2015 First institution gets certied and pilot project ends
2016: New parliamentary elections
2017: New government is formed; bill passes making the Equal Pay
Standard mandatory
2018: Law is implemented
22
WorkofEqualValue:
ImplementationandCertication
O
ne of the biggest challenges Icelandic companies and institutions face in the
implementation of the standard is dening which jobs are of the same value. In
other words, the law is not aimed at pay differentials between women and men
who have jobs of different value. There is exibility in payroll policy and in the
job evaluation system the company or institution can employ, but any payroll
system must meet the standard criteria. It must be documented and transparent in
order to be reviewed by an independent body. A company can implement a
payroll system that is 100 percent performance-based, but then it will have to
show how the job criteria are dened and weighted and that formal performance
assessments are satisfactorily completed. Former Minister of Welfare and
Equality Viglundsson said that an important reason why it was so difcult to
close the wage gap was the lack of guidelines within the companies to provide
sufcient time to assess and review how wages are determined. He explains that,
the standard forces you to show more responsibility . . . There’s still com-
plete exibility in what kind of a pay system you want to use. This isn’t a
uniform pay system. It’s not in any way a one-size-ts-all solution but is
simply the demand that everyone should be paid equally. You can, in that
sense, discriminate in pay. You just have to have some reasons. You need
to be able to prove that you are paying in accordance with your pay
system, at this point, in the end this is what the standard is really
requiring. (Interview, Viglundsson, 2018).
23
WorkofEqualValue:ImplementationandCertication
Figure 5. The certication process. From IST 85: 2012
Assessment
Equal Pay Policy
Improvements
Planning
Management
reviews
Checking
Implementation &
maintenance
Figure 5 shows the steps of the certication process. The Wheel involves a
relatively typical process of maintenance and the continuous development of
an established system, with planning, implementation, evaluation and the
opportunity for improvement (further development). The greatest work in most
businesses is done in the two points at the entrance of the wheel: assessment and
equity policy. The rst step businesses need to take is to dene their own equity
pay policy. The next step is to carry out a job evaluation for all its employees.
This may have already been done or companies may choose to rethink their
current job evaluation system, but they would have to justify their approach to
the certication body. As a rst step, a company must consider every task per-
formed within it, regardless of the employee actually doing the job. Therefore,
the company must have a formal system for how employees are rewarded for
individual attributes such as achievement or education. For example, when an
individual’s salary terms are determined, for example, the employee’s employ-
ment time will be recorded by the company. In principle, other elements may
also be important, such as the market situation. Given a situation where a
business requires a software engineer but a suitable one is not available on the
market, it will be possible to design a system that gives this position a far higher
value than others. Put another way: The standard is exible with regard to how
companies and institutions design their payroll systems. By forcing companies
to work out a more formalised system for their pay decisions, the standard is
intended to make pay, and any differences in pay for similar work, more trans-
parent. The method by which the business designs this system is one hundred
24
percent is exible, as long as they meet the requirements of the accreditation
bodies for transparency, consistency and gender-neutral reasons.
The standard highlights four main criteria (IST 85: 2012, Annex B): expertise,
responsibility, effort and work environment. These are to be given content, and
sub-criteria must be formulated and weighted in ways that make sense in each
business. Figure 2 gives an example of possible criteria and the weighting of
these. This is an example from a single, relatively large business. Other busi-
nesses may have different (under) criteria and different weighting of the various
criteria. It appears from the gure that the company in question has replaced
‘effort’ with ‘competencies’, that is, what is required in a given position, and
placed ‘mental and emotional stress’ under the working environment. Such
adjustments are allowed for companies as long as the criteria are justied and
the system is transparent.
Figure 6. Example of a job classication scheme from Icelandic Customs.
Knowledge
35 %
Education
(65 %)
Work experience
(35 %)
Competencies
30 %
Responsibilities
25 %
Work environment
10 %
Cognitive
competencies
(35 %)
Staff
management
(25 %)
Mentaland
emotional stress
(40 %)
Initiativeand
independence
(35 %)
Project
management
(25 %)
Physical strain
(30 %)
Communication
skills
(30 %)
Finance
(25 %)
Customerservice
(15 %)
Tools,equipment
anddocuments
(10 %)
Workconditions
andenvironmental
stimulus (30 %)
Source:IcelandicCustoms,Tollstjóri.
25
WorkofEqualValue:ImplementationandCertication
The way companies and institutions arrive at their respective job classication
criteria varies. However, all of the representatives of companies and institutions
agreed that it was crucial to have top management support the design of a con-
sistent job classication system. In some companies, the HR department made
these decisions, while other companies went through longer processes involving
different departments. Similarly, some companies chose to carry out this work
with their own resources, while others obtained assistance from consulting
companies.
Accredited certication bodies shall conrm that a company’s or institution’s
equal pay system and its implementation thereof meet the requirements of ÍST
Standard 85. The certication of any management system is a formal conrma-
tion by a third party that the company or institution operates a management
system that meets the requirements of a certain management standard (in this
case, of ÍST Standard 85). Equal pay certication performed by accredited audi-
tors is intended to conrm that when decisions on pay are taken, they are based
on relevant considerations. This means, among other things, that wages paid by
the company or institution in question are at all times determined in the same
way for women and men and that the considerations on which decisions on
wage are based do not involve discrimination on grounds of gender. For this, the
company or institution undergoes a certication process in order to establish
that its equal pay management system is implemented according to the require-
ments as set out in ÍST Standard 85. Certication is then granted by an accred-
ited certication body. Certication bodies must have received accreditation
from the accreditation department of the Icelandic Patents Ofce or a compa-
rable authority in the European Economic Area. Accreditation under Regulation
No. 1030/2017 conrms (when the accreditation certicate is shown) that the
accreditation body meets the requirements of the standard and is regarded as
competent to certify the equal pay systems of companies and institutions in
accordance with the standard and the requirements stated in the regulation. In
order to be able to certify the equal pay standard, the certifying body has to
full certain requirements. For example, it is mandatory to pass a training
course on gender and the labour market with a rst-class mark. While this is
seen as burdensome by some, others point to the fact that the rst educational
run of the course showed that pupils had very little knowledge about gender
equality and the labour market (Interview, Trade Union and Business Iceland
Representative, 2018). This does point to the important function of the require-
ment of such a course as a precondition that certifying bodies will be more
effective in the implementation of the standard or in uncovering instances when
pay for the same work is justied or when unequal pay for the same work is
26
unjustied. It also creates a new profession in the labour market that has to
develop and acquire skills that are supported by the Icelandic Ministry of
Finance.
The way the certication works is that the company or institution applies to a
competent body for certication of its equal pay management system. The
certication body directs and carries out an audit of the equal pay management
system of the company or institution. When the certication body has completed
the examination and established that the equal pay management system of the
company or institution meets the requirements of ÍST Standard 85 (i.e., that its
equal pay management system, and the way it is applied, meets the require-
ments of ÍST Standard 85 and, consequently, that the handling and setting of
wages in the entity concerned does not involve gender-based discrimination),
the certication body takes a decision on certication and issues a certicate in
conrmation thereof. The certication body then informs the Centre for Gender
Equality of the outcome of the audit in the form of a report and sends it a copy
of the certicate. Such reports contain details of how the company or institution
has met the requirement of ÍST Standard 85 and also conrm that the company
or institution has set itself an equal pay policy and documented rules of proce-
dure on its application, and that a review by the management has taken place
and that measures have been taken where they were considered necessary. The
Centre for Gender Equality is a national bureau and is in charge of adminis-
tering the Equal Pay Management System, such as monitoring the application of
the Act and advising institutions and companies on issues related to the Equal
Pay System.
Companies and institutions are required to have their equal pay certication
renewed every three years. When the Centre for Gender Equality has received a
copy of the certicate conrming that the equal pay system of the company or
institution, and the way it is applied, meets the requirements of ÍST Standard 85,
it confers the equal pay symbol on the company or institution8. Companies and
institutions with more than 250 employees are required to obtain certication by
the end of this year, because they are expected to have more resources and infra-
structure to implement the standard. Depending on the size, smaller companies
have more time (see Annex I). If a workplace does not obtain certication by
the deadline, it will receive a ne of up to ISK 50,000 (around €397) per day.
8 https://www.government.is/topics/human-rights-and-equality/equal-pay-certication/
27
ImplementationoftheIcelandic
EqualPayStandard:Anexample
of one company
The Icelandic Equal Pay Standard has only existed for a few months as a
mandatory standard, so the majority of experience with it comes from the pilot
period. Here, we present an example from a single company that implemented
the standard and underwent the accreditation process during the pilot phase.
This is a large company with 250 employees. We have reviewed the available
documents about the process undertaken by this business, to the extent that they
were available in English, and interviewed the head of the HR department. We
also contacted representatives of the trade union at this workplace, but they
referred us to the trade union representatives who had contributed to the drafting
of the standard, or to the HR manager of the company. None of them felt they
had been adequately close to the process at the workplace to have anything
informative to say. In the interview, the HR manager of the company reected
on the start of the process, and recalled that they started to,
look at every single job of the 250 employees because what had
happened through years was that quite different jobs had the same title.
For example, we had the title of ‘representative’, that could mean a repre-
sentative sitting in a service function, or that could mean a representative
is going out and doing some work in collection. So, it was a very broad
span. So, we had to kind of look at that and narrow that down a bit.
(Interview HR Manager, 2018).
In this company, the head of HR decided to put together a project group that
came up with the preliminary denitions of the criteria according to which the
company or institution must classify each job as laid out in the standard.
However, the standard allows adjusting these criteria to t the needs of the
organisation. In the case of the institution in question, the project group decided
to put more criteria than the standard requires, as well as other sub-criteria for
job evaluation. After the project group came up with the initial criteria, it
formed a focus group of all middle and top managers, because they were the
ones who would rate each position. The focus groups worked over a period of
3 months, in which they had to review the denitions and the criteria for job
classication and come to a consensus. The HR manager explained that,
28
we had lots of changes after these focus groups, and what you nd is that
somebody reads something into it, and a different person reads something
else. So, it has to be really structured, and I would say that this part of the
project is one of the things . . . is the part you really have to put time into
because you want to make your criteria right. (Interview, HR manager,
2018).
After the focus group had decided on the criteria and on how the company would
classify each position, implementation began. The head of HR, a specialist from
the HR department and the general director met with each manager of the diffe-
rent departments (in 25 meetings) to ensure that the job classication developed
consistently. After these meetings, the company had 18 job titles. The next step
was to look at these 18 job titles with a focus on the core requirements of the
job, not the person doing the job. This proved challenging because HR and the
managers are used to a 360-degree evaluation while the standard forces you to
evaluate, as a rst point, only the core requirements of a certain job. The second
step was to evaluate the person doing the job. It was during this stage that the
company uncovered unequal pay between males and females doing the same
work. One HR manager explains:
what we found here was we had a legal analyst and we had…what’s
called a statistic analyst. Their jobs were classied as having the same
points, so it was of same worth. But when we then did the job analysis,
we found out that we were paying the legal analyst more than the statis-
tical analyst, and it so happened that the statistic analyst was a woman
and the legal analyst was a man. And then we raised the salary of the
statistic analyst to be the same as that of the legal analyst because the
classication had shown when you’ve gone through all the criteria, that
the points were the same for these two jobs, so they were of equal values
and should then have the same pay.
Interestingly, the re-evaluation uncovered pay differences between men and
women, but also differences between men and differences between women in
the same job. Recall, unequal wages for the same work are permitted as long as
they are sufciently explained. This led to instances in which the salary of one
employee had to be either lowered or the inequality had to be justied. The
company described above did not lower any salaries. This involved three people
in the whole institution and the difference in pay was justied due to their
seniority or their previous management experience. In these instances, the
employees were notied, and the employer explained in detail how they arrived
at this conclusion. This information, why person A has a higher salary doing a
job that has the same amount of points that person B is doing, is accessible to all
employees. After this internal process came to an end, the certifying agency sent
29
ImplementationoftheIcelandicEqualPayStandard:Anexampleofonecompany
three staff members to the company for three days. They compared the compa-
ny’s pay structure to the requirements of the standard. Specic questions were
related to how the job classication was done and its outcome, how the salary
analysis was done and its outcome. After a positive evaluation, the institution
received the Equal Pay logo.
The employees gave positive feedback on the more transparent salary system, as
it increases trust that they are indeed being paid just and equal wages.
According to the HR manager, the implementation of the standard very much
made a difference: ‘even though equal pay is mandatory, still when you start
looking into it, it’s not like that. It is always some sort of . . . well, some gap you
have to close’ (Interview, HR manager, 2018). This is not to say that the institu-
tion had not thought about its job classication scheme previously, but
according to the HR manager the standard forces them to make the job classi-
cation more structured, predictable and uniform and leaves less discretion to
individual managers, impacting positively on the organisational culture.
One criticism that an HR manager voiced about the Equal Pay Standard is that it
does not address how norms dene the creation of the job classication system.
For instance, one institution found that 80% of the ofce workers were women,
while 80% of the ofcials in outside posts were male. If an ofcial’s work in an
outside post is valued higher than an ofce worker’s, it means that the former
are paid more. In this case, women are still paid less than men, because most of
them are ofce workers at the given institution. One HR manager has recog-
nised this and aims to re-think how jobs are valued in the company and to look
at ‘what is really or should be the worth of the value of each criteria, and may
there be some criteria that we should be looking at, and not looking at the
moment? The next step for us to do is to look at, “Do you have some precon-
ceived notion that jobs mainly held by women are less valuable than jobs held
by men?” ’ (Interview, HR manager, 2018). Interestingly, on the initiative of this
HR manager, the company held focus groups with the women working at the
desk jobs in order to nd out what would motivate them to move into the better
paid positions that are not male dominated, or what prevented them from
applying in the rst place. Reasons given were related to issues such as the long
and inexible shift work hours. This institution is currently in the process of
looking into revising the shift system (with shorter, more exible shift hours) to
make it more attractive for female staff. This is an instance in which the equal
pay standard did not call for such measures, but the implementation of the
standard illuminated issues that were previously not being discussed, and paved
the way for a more open discourse, not only on equal pay for equal work but
30
also on issues relating to the kinds of jobs that males and females chose in the
rst place.
Timetable of deadlines of the implementation of the standard:
Workplaces with an average of 250 employees, or more, on an annual
basis – no later than 31 December 2018.
Workplaces with an average of 150–249 employees, on an annual basis
– no later than 31 December 2019.
Workplaces with an average of 90–142 employees, on an annual basis
– no later than 31 December 2020.
Workplaces with an average of 25–89 employees, on an annual basis
– no later than 31 December 2021.
Thus, all companies and institutions where there are 25 employees or
more, on an annual basis, shall have acquired certication by 1 January
2021.
Public institutions, funds and companies that are half-owned or more
than half-owned by the state with an average of 25 employees, or more,
on an annual basis, shall have acquired certication by 31 December
2019.
Furthermore, the Icelandic Government Ministries shall acquire
certication by 31 December 2018.
Source: https://www.government.is/topics/human-rights-and-equality/equal-pay-certication/
31
Discussion
Mandatory pay equality certication has only recently been introduced in
Iceland. So far, only companies and institutions who participated in the pilot
project or large companies and institutions have implemented the standard and
received certication. Even though the representatives interviewed from those
companies and institutions who implemented the standard agreed that the imple-
mentation process was burdensome, they appreciated the positive outcomes that
were connected to this lengthy process. Companies repeatedly expressed that
certication had positive impacts on the new hires, who feel more condent that
men and women will be paid equally since the company has received certica-
tion. From the point of view of various HR managers, the certication process
also positively impacted the feeling of employees within the company, making
them proud to be part of this progressive project, or making the female work-
force more trusting of the company and their wage policy. One HR manager said
that there was a bit of a generational divide in the company, with the older male
workforce not showing much understanding for implementing the Equal Pay
Standard whereas the younger male workers were in favour of doing so. Never-
theless, the process has stimulated in-rm and societal discussion about how jobs
are valued and based on which criteria, and whether these criteria are still accu-
rate and relevant in the current society and labour market. In the end, the system
makes companies create a transparent pay system and increases transparency for
employees, who have the right to ask the employer to state the wages and terms
at which they are employed, if they choose to do so. This right has been
enshrined in the Gender Equality Act since 2008. This means that employers are
not able to demand that their employees enter into wage agreements including a
provision not to reveal their contents. Such provisions are unlawful, and there-
fore have no validity, shifting the burden of proof from employee to employer
and forcing companies to develop or re-think their job evaluation system. This
may inspire discussions on how companies or institutions think about how they
value not only jobs, but also professions.
An objection, however, is that the change in the burden of proof applies inter-
nally to the business, so that only a part of the problem is dealt with. The wage
inequality that arises at the national level as a result of the fact that women and
men typically work in different industries will not be affected by the Equal Pay
Standard. However, the processes around the standard can, over time,
32
encouraged discussion on sector-specic inequalities. Viglundsson and his party,
the Reform Party, made a proposal to the Icelandic Parliament in early 2018
that, in addition to the centralised rounds of negotiations, an agreement should
be introduced that during the next four or ve-year period, certain occupations
will receive a given sum to correct the current imbalance (interview with
Viglundsson, 2018). This proposal has not been implemented at the time of
writing, so Iceland still lacks powerful means to close the wage gap between
female-dominated and male-dominated sectors in working life.
Nevertheless, the Equal Pay Standard, and some of its provisions, has its critics.
One criticism from the employers’ association is related to the size of compa-
nies that have to implement it. While the employers’ association generally
regarded the standard as burdensome for companies, this is especially true for
smaller companies without HR departments or previous knowledge of interna-
tional management standards. Apart from the issue of red tape, it is not quite
clear how to dene what ‘25 employees on an annual basis’ entails and how this
will affect the new hiring decision of small enterprises in the future. For
instance, will a company employing under 25 full-time employees on a yearly
basis resort to employing atypical workers in order to reduce the burden of the
certication process? What about a large construction rm that manages a mega
project, and received certication, but contracts many smaller companies to do
the heavy lifting on a construction site? These are scenarios that have yet to be
explored.
Several of the informants in Iceland, especially on the employer’s side, were
worried about the extra work the standard imposes on companies. This was
especially the case with regard to the smaller companies. At the same time, as
mentioned, some of the informants emphasised that the work that was done in
connection with the standard was useful and had positive consequences for cor-
porate culture and the working environment. The positive experiences of these
big companies or institutions with the voluntary scheme cannot be generalised
to all companies now subject to certication. As part of the certication process
bureaucracy is developing as a new ‘profession’, one of those who qualify to
assess whether companies have met the standard. None of the informants were
particularly concerned about the socioeconomic consequences of this:
Qualifying and nancing certication bodies was perceived as a negligible
investment and could probably be understood in connection with the work
already done to certify businesses according to existing standards.
Certication of the fact that a certain company or institution meets the require-
ments of the Equal Pay Standard does not prevent it from paying different
33
Discussion
wages on the basis of relevant considerations, for example, taking account each
individual’s educational qualications, experience, knowledge, responsibility,
the pressure under which they work or other circumstances of employment.
Nor does certication prevent taking individual factors into account when
determining wages, where these have an effect on how the employee is able to
do his or her job, or involve an assessment of his or her success in the job.
Thus, differences in the wages paid to individuals are not prohibited as such,
but where different individuals receive different wages, the difference must be
based on relevant considerations in which gender plays no part whatsoever.
However, one point of critique is that companies will just try to explain the
difference away, meaning trying to justify an unfair difference through the value
of work.
The relationship to collective bargaining has not been part of the development
of the standard. The Ministry of Welfare points out that this relationship will
have to be addressed at the company level and it is the responsibility of the
employers and the trade unions to arrive at a positive accord. Several inter-
viewees expressed that there may be a tension between the Equal Pay Standard
and collective bargaining. This may become an issue in the future in workplaces
that negotiate collective bargaining agreements with a lot of different trade
unions. One representative from the employers’ association says:
… But we mentioned a lot of obstacles. I mean constructing a wage
system is a huge task for many companies. Like, the private companies
operating the airports, they are very interested, but they see it as huge,
this task. Because they have so many groups and they have never tried to
value their work…I mean it’s one thing to value work over genders. But
the idea here is to value all the occupations, you know. And how do you
value the ight attendant versus an engineer? Okay. You have many
meetings. You come to a conclusion. And then you have the ight
attendants on strike. (Interview, Business Iceland, 2018)
However, one HR manager also identied an advantage of collective bargaining
in relation to the Equal Pay Standard when they had to deal with the issue of
how to correct unequal wages within one group. For one company or institution,
it is difcult to adjust the wages of a whole group of approximately thirty
employees. After the implementation of the Equal Pay Standard, the company
realised that this group should earn more according to their job criteria. This
was adjusted in the next bargaining round for the whole group, directly after the
implementation of the standard (Interview, HR manager, 2018).
34
Finally, there are also some interviewees who are concerned that referring to the
Equal Pay Standard as a standard for gender inequality does not go far enough.
One interviewee suggested that the Equal Pay Standard should also address and
embrace the issue of wage inequality according to nationality more directly.
One HR manager noted: ‘It is a bit…not disturbing, it’s not the right word, but
it’s a bit confusing that it so specically talks about gender, but it’s still going be
on an overall scale.’ While the Equal Pay Standard is designed to equal out
inequalities in pay among social groups, it is not promoted as such. In the
future, the Equal Pay Standard can be used not only to promote differences
based on gender but also based on nationality, minority status or other
categories in an ever more diverse labour market.
35
Conclusion
The purpose of this report was to assess the Equal Pay Standard, how it
evolved and its working on the ground at a very early stage of its mandatory
implementation. All interviewees raised the issue that the current standard is
still evolving along with the mandatory implementation phase, and that it may
need to be adjusted according to the experiences of different companies. It will
be interesting to see if or how the experiences with the Equal Pay Standard will
differ according to the size of the companies and sectors, including companies
that have no human resource department or have no previous experience with
implementing management standards. However, the interviewees agreed that the
bene ts of the Equal Pay Standard outweigh the costs of its implementation;
having a more transparent and organised pay system is good for the working
climate and for attracting new talent. It is not surprising that the Equal Pay
Standard appeals to companies’ ‘business sense’, because it has been designed
as a voluntary measure for companies who wish to position their organisation as
strong on corporate social responsibility. Experiences with other voluntary
employer actions suggest that these are indeed important in closing the gender
pay gap, although primarily at company level (for an overview of different
countries across the EU see Rubery and Koukiadaki, 2018, p. 65). Experiences
with voluntary measures in Canada point to the importance of an effective
enforcement system to limit the deterring effect of the legislation. In connection
to the Canadian voluntary enforcement mechanism, Rubery and Koukiadaki
(2018) point out the positive effect that trade union involvement will have in
enforcement. The Icelandic Equal Pay Standard made the voluntary measure
mandatory in order to ensure that an institutional enforcement system is in
place. While considerable resources are being put into establishing a new pro-
fession of trained accreditation bodies, it is too early to assess the effectiveness
of these new agencies and what impact the trade union’s lack of formal role in
the enforcement process will have. One crucial aspect in the enforcement
process will be whether the accreditation bodies will be able to uncover
instances in which a company or institution justies inequality of wages for the
same work but has no actual reason for doing so.
Nevertheless, all human resource managers were positively surprised that the
implementation of the Equal Pay Standard did not only positively inuence
their business case, but changed the way managers and employees discussed the
36
issue of equal pay, or at least made the issue of equal pay a point of discussion
on a large scale for the rst time in the company. More critical voices were con-
cerned that the standard is unable to change the normative assumptions about
how companies, institutions or society at large values jobs. The re-evaluation of
jobs is, or may be, able to uncover pay differences between men and women in
the same job. What about job segments within the company that are vertically
and horizontally segregated based on gender? And how will intra-company
measures to reduce gender inequality in pay inuence sectoral gender segrega-
tion? Can the Equal Pay Standard speak to inequalities in wages not only based
on gender but based on nationality or ethnicity? Even though it is theoretically
possible to implement the standard in another country, how feasible is this in
practice, given the differences as to how other countries organise their labour
market and policy? These are questions that can only be answered in the years
to come. However, Claudia Golden (2014) reminds us that changes in
intra-company job systems are vital for changes in the overall structure of the
labour market and for addressing not only the intra company, but also the sec-
toral, pay gap. If this is true, the Equal Pay Standard might be able to make a
long-term impact not only at the company level, but at the sectoral level, if the
institutional support remains constant. In Iceland, its continued importance at
the institutional level is demonstrated by the fact that the new Minister of
Welfare and Equality made the issue of equality his focal topic, and parties are
working on new legislation that can complement the existing legislation on the
Equal Pay Standard. Moreover, some countries have already looked into the
possibility of adopting the Equal Pay Standard as a voluntary measure. For
example, under the auspices of the EEA agreement, Portugal is interested in
adopting the Equal Pay Standard and making it t into its institutional context.
However, it is important to note that in discussing the barriers to gender pay
equity that the problem is not women’s inherently lower productivity levels, but
the low value attached to women’s work that is embedded in markets and prices
(Grimshaw and Rubery, 2008). Part of the solution for closing the gender pay
gap thus lies in the question as to how we value different tasks or jobs and why
we value them in a certain way. This question is not addressed, at least not
directly, by the Equal Pay Standard. What the Icelandic Equal Pay Standard
does is to move away from a focus on individual explanations of why women
earn less than men, for example, because they do not negotiate hard enough, to
establishing a supportive institutional environment for gender pay equity at the
company level. Supportive here means general public support, but also means
the creation of a transparent environment in which it is more difcult for the
causes of pay inequality for the same work to remain hidden and obscure.
37
References
Alpingi (2017), Amendment to the 2008 legislation on equal position and equal rights of
women and men, with equal pay certication.Hentetfra:https://www.government.is/
library/04-Legislation/Act%20on%20equal%20status%20and%20equal%20
rights%20of%20women%20and%20men%20no%2010%202008%20as%20
amended%200101%202018%20nal.pdf
Andersen,S.K.,Dølvik,J.E.andIbsen,C.L.(2014),De nordiske aftalemodeller i åbne
markeder – udfordringer og perspektiver.Fafo-rapport2014:08.Oslo:Fafo.
Eurostat(2016),Genderpaygapinunadjustedform.Hentetfra:http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/
statistics-explained/index.php/Gender_pay_gap_statistics
Eurostat(2018),Employmentstatistics,June2018.Hentetfra:http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/
statistics-explained/index.php/Employment_statistics
GenderEqualityActNo.10/2008
GoldinC.(2014),AGrandGenderConvergence:ItsLastChapter.American Economic
Review 104(4), 1091–1119.
Grimshaw,D.andRubery,J.(2007),Undervaluing women’s work. Working Paper Series No.
53,EuropeanWorkandEmploymentResearchCentre,Manchester:Universityof
Manchester.
Heijstra,T.M.,O’ConnorP.andRafnsdóttirG.L.(2013),ExplaininggenderinequalityinIceland:
whatmakesthedifference?European Journal of Higher Education, 3:4, 324 – 341.
ÍST85:2012-Equalwagemanagementsystem–requirementsandguidance.Hentetfra:
http://www.stadlar.is/verslun/p-45590-st-852012.aspx
MinistryofWelfare(2018),EqualPayCertication.Hentetfra:https://www.government.is/
topics/human-rights-and-equality/equal-pay-certication/
Nergaard,K.(2018),Organisasjonsgrader i norsk arbeidsliv 2016.Fafo-notat2018:04.Oslo:
Fafo.
NordiskMinisterråd(2016),Kjønnsdelingetteryrkeiarbeidsmarkedet.Tilgjngeligpåhttps://
www.norden.org/no/fakta-om-norden/gender-equality-indicators/arbeidsmarked/
kjoennsdeling-etter-yrke-i-arbeidsmarkedet
NOU(1997),10,Arbeidsvurderingsomvirkemiddelforlikelønn.
NOU(2008),6,Kjønnoglønn.Fakta,analyserogvirkemidlerforlikelønn.
38
Ólafsdóttir,KogÓlafsson,K.(2014),Economy, Politics and Welfare in Iceland: Booms, busts
and challenges.Fafo-rapport2014:13.Oslo:Fafo.
Olafsson, S. (2017), Iceland: Equal pay certication legalised.ESPNFlashReport2017/5.
Brussels: the European Commission.
Ot.prp.nr.77(2000–2001),Omlovomendringerilikestillingslovenmv.(plikttilåarbeidefor
likestilling,skjerpingavforbudetmotforskjellsbehandlingpågrunnavkjønn,forbud
motseksuelltrakasseringmv.).Oslo:Barne-ogfamiliedepartementet.
Rafnsdóttir,G.L.andJúlíusdóttir,Ó.(2018),“Reproducinggenderrolesthroughvirtualwork:
The case of senior management” International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics,
14(1), 77–94.
Rafnsdóttir,G.L.,Einarsdóttir,T.andSnorrasonJ.S.(2014),Genderdiversityonboardsin
organizations.I:DeVos,M.&Culliford,P.(red.)Gender quota for the Board of
Directors.Cambridge:Intersentia,147–157.
RafnsdóttirG.L.,AxelsdóttirL.,DiðriksdóttirS.andEinarsdóttirTh.(2015),Women and men
as business leaders in Iceland.Akureyri,Jafnréttisstofa.DOI:10.13140/
RG.2.1.2829.9368.
Rubery,J.andKoukiadaki,A.(2018),Closing the Gender Pay Gap: A Review of the Issues,
Policy Mechanisms and International Evidence.Geneve:InternationalLabour
Organization.Hentetfra:http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---
gender/documents/publication/wcms_540889.pdf
WorldEconomicForum(2016),The Global Gender Gap Report.Hentetfra:http://www3.
weforum.org/docs/GGGR16/WEF_Global_Gender_Gap_Report_2016.pdf
Institute for
Social Research
Munthes gate 31
PO Box 3233 Elisenberg
NO-0208 Oslo, Norway
Tel +47 23 08 61 00
samfunnsforskning.no
ISBN: 978-82-7763-606-1
ISSN: 1891-4314
Certified Equality
The Icelandic Equal Pay Standard
In2018,Icelandintroducedastatutorycerticationprocessthroughwhich
companiesandinstitutionswithover25employeesmustprovethatthey
paymenandwomenthesameforthesamejob.Thisinnovativemechanism
movestheburdenofprooffromemployeetoemployerandforcescompanies
todevelopamoretransparentsystemforthewaytheyvaluedifferentjobs.
Thepurposeofthecerticationprocessistoclosetherelativelysmallbut
sustainedwagegapbetweenthesexes.Basedonqualitativein-depth
interviewswithkeygovernmentinformants,socialpartnersandHRleaders
inIceland,thisreporttakesarstlookathowthepaydaystandardwas
establishedandhowitworksinpractice.FindingsshowthattheIcelandic
EquityStandardmovesfocusfromindividualexplanationsofwhywomen
earnlessthanmen,toestablishingasupportiveinstitutionalenvironment
forequalpayatthecorporatelevel.«Supportive»meanspublicsupport,but
alsomeanscreatingatransparentenvironmentinwhichcasesofinequality
cannotremainunknownorhidden.
... Eftir að jafnlaunavottun var lögfest haetti VR með Jafnlaunavottun VR þar sem nú var komið opinbert ferli við vottunina samkvaemt jafnlaunastaðlinum (BSI á Íslandi e.d.; VR e.d.-d). Þó mörg önnur lönd heimili ekki að launaákvarðanir feli í sér kynbundna mismunun er Ísland fyrsta og eina landið á heimsvísu til að lögfesta jafnlaunavottun (Wagner 2018). Jafnframt er vert að geta þátttöku Íslands í Evrópuverkefni um innleiðingu jafnlaunakerfis í Portúgal en Noregur er samstarfsaðili að verkefninu (Stjórnarráð Íslands 2020). ...
... Rannsóknir Koskinen Sandberg (2017;2018) hafa sýnt að stöðluð launakerfi draga ekki úr kynbundnum launamun heldur er hann til staðar innan kerfisins, þ.e. hefðbundin kvennastörf eru metin til laegri launa en hefðbundin karlastörf og endurspegla þannig ólíkt virðismat starfanna samkvaemt matsaðilum. ...
Article
Full-text available
This research reviews the experience of managers regarding the effect of the Equal Pay Certification on wage environment as managers with experience of the Equal Pay Standard were interviewed. The main results imply that the managers experienced increased bureaucracy and systemization, displacement of decision making power and that the Equal Pay Certification might be an illusion. Results also showed a shift in the emphasis in the annual collective agreement right of employees to an employee interview, the flexibility of the certification is underutilized as well as subjective performance assessment of employees and inconsistencies in the procedures of the certification bodies. Even though, at first glance, the Equal Pay Certification seems valid and reliable there are certain factors which can make it possible to meet the requirements for Equal Pay Certification, even though there is a gender pay gap.
... In 2018, Iceland introduced a policy requiring organizations with more than 25 employees (equal to about 80 percent of the labor market) to obtain a certification that they provide equal work for equal pay and promote based on known job criteria, or else be subject to fines (Wagner, 2018 The U.S. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires eligible employers to provide family leave -however, unlike most other industrialized nations (and the countries in this review), it is unpaid, except for the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, which took effect in 2020 for federal employees. There are no national standards on paid family or sick leave, despite significant public support for it (KFF, 2021a). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Promoting gender equity is smart development policy. Current efforts to understand how and why the world shrinks for some people and expands for others continue to underscore the far-reaching implications of gender inequity for women, men, girls, boys, and people of all gender identities. Global evidence on effective gender equity policies is needed to support worldwide learning, inspire action, and guide additional policy-making. This study presents the findings of a global scan of effective and promising gender equity policies that can inform and inspire current efforts in the United States (U.S.) to improve socio-political, economic, educational, and health outcomes for all.
... 17 In South Africa, collective bargaining almost always occurs in the government, resources and industrial sectors, while small companies, in general, may have few or no worker representatives. 46 The inclusion of gender pay equality as a collective bargaining issue may be legally mandated or a soft law duty on the parties to collective bargaining. 17 This measure will also be more effective if the state was allowed to intervene during the collective bargaining process. ...
Article
Full-text available
The gender pay gap – that is, the difference in wages between men and women for the same or substantially the same work, or work of equal value – still features prominently as a stumbling block in achieving South African gender equality. If South Africa is to dislodge its stagnant gender pay gap, especially for women in the middle and upper levels of the wage distribution, pay transparency – making gender differences in wages known to employees, government and the public – can compel employers to remunerate fairly and equally. We undertook a comparison between the global and national mechanisms of gender pay transparency to propose a way forward to increase transparency in gender pay for South Africa. In addition to a discussion of existing mechanisms, a summary of the gender pay transparency mechanisms of 16 countries is provided as supplementary material to the article. We found that South Africa could strengthen legislated transparency mechanisms, especially with regard to pay reporting and pay audits, provided that sanctions are attached to non-delivery of these duties. Reigniting the debate on strengthening and improving South African legislation and interpretation of existing governance codes in relation to the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of gender pay transparency mechanisms could strengthen the existing collective bargaining framework and provide the impetus to demonstrate that South Africa sees gender equality as an achievable reality, not an improbable ideology.
Article
After the financial crisis of 2008, a time of reputation rebuilding began in Iceland. Women had been absent in the process leading up to the crisis and a strong discourse emerged calling for women to restore the country and blaming the crisis on the male ‘business Vikings”. At the same time, Iceland became a frontrunner in the Global Gender Gap Report. This article draws on scholarship on the discursive construction of gender equality, nation branding and gender measurements. Taking Iceland as a case example, the article critically examines gender indices with a special focus on the Global Gender Gap index. It explores how a narrow understanding of gender equality is evident in the composition of the Global Gender Gap measurement, illustrating the “shrinking” and “bending” of the concept. The article shows the process in which gender equality rankings are employed in the politics of reputation and turned into nation branding. The article adds to the knowledge of how measurements and indices contribute to the emergent emphasis on gender equality in nation branding.
Article
Full-text available
The gender pay gap – that is, the difference in wages between men and women for the same or substantially the same work, or work of equal value – still features prominently as a stumbling block in achieving South African gender equality. If South Africa is to dislodge its stagnant gender pay gap, especially for women in the middle and upper levels of the wage distribution, pay transparency – making gender differences in wages known to employees, government and the public – can compel employers to remunerate fairly and equally. We undertook a comparison between the global and national mechanisms of gender pay transparency to propose a way forward to increase transparency in gender pay for South Africa. In addition to a discussion of existing mechanisms, a summary of the gender pay transparency mechanisms of 16 countries is provided as supplementary material to the article. We found that South Africa could strengthen legislated transparency mechanisms, especially with regard to pay reporting and pay audits, provided that sanctions are attached to non-delivery of these duties. Reigniting the debate on strengthening and improving South African legislation and interpretation of existing governance codes in relation to the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of gender pay transparency mechanisms could strengthen the existing collective bargaining framework and provide the impetus to demonstrate that South Africa sees gender equality as an achievable reality, not an improbable ideology.
Article
Full-text available
The demand for long and inflexible working hours in leading positions in the economy is often seen as one of the primary hindrances for women entering leadership positions. The aim of the article is to analyse how virtual work affects the reconciliation of work and family life among senior managers in Iceland. The study is based on qualitative one-on-one interviews with managers in Icelandic companies. Our findings show that the work life of women and men in leadership positions intrudes into their domestic sphere in distinct ways. Virtual work in general improves work–life balance, as it enables managers to bring work home from the office and vice versa. Women are more likely than men to experience hurriedness when they integrate housework, caregiving and paid work with the help of information and communication technologies. Men, who seem to have more power over their own time than women, establish sharper boundaries between work, caregiving and the household. They take less responsibility for daily family care and other domestic work and are better able to relax and unwind while at home. Women are left with fewer options than men for where and when to work.
Book
Full-text available
Landene i Norden har klare likhetstrekk. Med sine små åpne økonomier, velutviklede velferdsstater og organiserte arbeidsliv, har de gitt opphav til begrepet «de nordiske modellene». NordMod2030 er et nordisk forskningsprosjekt som skal identifisere og diskutere hvilke utfordringer landene vil måtte takle i årene fram mot 2030. Hensikten er å bidra til at det blir utformet strategier som kan videreutvikle de nordiske modellene. Hovedrapporten vil legges fram i november 2014, og før den tid vil prosjektet publisere en rekke delrapporter og arrangere åpne seminarer.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Recent studies shed a light on women and men as business leaders in Iceland following the introduction of quota provisions on company boards. Men outnumber women as business leaders, women are younger than men, better educated, and more often with background in business, economics or law as opposed to men’s background in science or engineering. Women and men also have different jobs, men are more often managing directors and women human resources managers. A large gender difference appear in attitudes towards the working situation. Women are more likely than men to see structural hindrances in the workplace such as male biased environment while men are more likely to see women’s family responsibilities as the hinder for women, or that women do not cope with the pressure in management jobs. Men are also more likely than women to believe that there are not enough qualified women to fill management positions. Women more often believe that gender balance will promote better financial results and better risk management. Although half of both women and men find it possible to manage the work life balance many of them say they come home too tired to perform necessary tasks at home.
AGrandGenderConvergence:ItsLastChapter
  • Goldinc
GoldinC.(2014),AGrandGenderConvergence:ItsLastChapter.American Economic Review 104(4), 1091-1119.
ExplaininggenderinequalityinIceland: whatmakesthedifference?
  • T M Heijstra
  • Andrafnsdóttirg L O'connorp
Heijstra,T.M.,O'ConnorP.andRafnsdóttirG.L.(2013),ExplaininggenderinequalityinIceland: whatmakesthedifference?European Journal of Higher Education, 3:4, 324 -341.
Iceland: Equal pay certification legalised.ESPNFlashReport2017/5. Brussels: the European Commission
  • S Olafsson
Olafsson, S. (2017), Iceland: Equal pay certification legalised.ESPNFlashReport2017/5. Brussels: the European Commission.
Closing the Gender Pay Gap: A Review of the Issues
  • J Rubery
  • A Andkoukiadaki
Rubery,J.andKoukiadaki,A.(2018),Closing the Gender Pay Gap: A Review of the Issues, Policy Mechanisms and International Evidence.Geneve:InternationalLabour Organization.Hentetfra:http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---gender/documents/publication/wcms_540889.pdf
docs/GGGR16/WEF_Global_Gender_Gap_Report_2016.pdf Institute for Social Research Munthes gate 31 PO Box 3233 Elisenberg NO-0208 Oslo
  • Worldeconomicforum
WorldEconomicForum(2016),The Global Gender Gap Report.Hentetfra:http://www3. weforum.org/docs/GGGR16/WEF_Global_Gender_Gap_Report_2016.pdf Institute for Social Research Munthes gate 31 PO Box 3233 Elisenberg NO-0208 Oslo, Norway Tel +47 23 08 61 00 samfunnsforskning.no ISBN: 978-82-7763-606-1 ISSN: 1891-4314