2020 started with new requirements for reporting on gender balance in Norwegian companies. The Norwegian Equality and Discrimination Ombud, Hanne Bjurstrøm, believes Norwegian companies will become more aware of the status of gender equality due to the increased requirements for mapping and reporting.
Increased level of detail
These are the areas Norwegian companies now have to report on:
- Gender pay gap: Present statistics beyond average differences in the company, but shows differences for men and women at different levels in the company.
- Overview of gender equality in different levels of the company.
- Overview of who takes parental leave and how long.
- An overview of part-time work and involuntary part-time workers.
“This is an important political tool in the work for equality. This will make employers more aware of potential discrepancies and it can prove an important tool for union representatives,” says Bjurstrøm.
The new requirements are only mandatory for companies with 50 or more employees, however, it can also be applicable for companies with 20 or more employees if union representatives require them to. This is an important nuance as most Norwegians work in small or medium-sized companies. Moving forward companies must report on the status of equality every two years. The Equality and Discrimination Ombud is currently developing guidelines and electronic forms to simplify reporting the statistics for Norwegian companies.
Wage gap is one of the most important challenges
The Equality Minister, Trine Skei Grande, says she hopes that the new reporting requirements can become an important tool to reduce gender inequalities.
“We know that the wage gap between women and men is one of our most important equality challenges. If a man and a woman are 100% equal in terms of education, experience, and job, men will still earn 6,5% more than a woman on average,” says Grande. “This mapping can provide employers the foundation to evaluate if there is a risk of wage discrimination. And I hope we can make the wage systems more transparent,” the Equality Minister continues. The Norwegian Government is currently developing a strategy to achieve a less gender-segregated education- and work-life and will make suggestions on how to achieve a more equal work-life.
There will be no sanctions for companies who report large discrepancies. But high inequality will not look good for the companies reporting them, says the Ombudswoman Bjurstrøm.