The equal pay principle in French law

Principle

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 impliednotions

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

The notion of work of equal value is understood as work that requires a comparable combination of:

  • 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.

 Art. L. 3221-2 of the French Labor Code.

Art. L. 3221-6 of the French Labor Code.

Art. L3221-3 of the French Labor Code.

 Art. L. 3221-4 of the French Labor Code

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