Skip to content

Equal pay

Fair pay is in everyone’s interest. Unjustified pay differences must be eliminated. Workers must be paid the same wages for equal work of equal value.

Our goals

  • The same wages for work of the same value

Unjustified pay differences must be eliminated. Workers must be paid the same wages for equal work of equal value.

The first equal pay programmes in Finland were established 16 years ago. The first programmes were negotiated during the era of national income policy agreements, when it was possible to agree additional salary elements for women and people with low wages. Since employers stopped entering into national income policy agreements with trade unions and the government, it has been difficult to agree effective measures affecting pay gaps.

Binding national collective agreements are the best way to ensure a minimum wage level for all, and their provisions are non-discriminatory.

More diversified use of the national incomes register

In promoting equal pay, the parties to collective agreements should remain active, and it should also be possible to affect equal pay in the workplace.

In 2021, the difference between men’s and women’s average monthly income from full-time regular working hours was 15.7%. Among the 28 countries in the European Union, only six have a higher pay gap than Finland.

The wage and salary earnings statistics compiled by Statistics Finland only take full-time workers into account. If part-time workers were also included, the real pay gap between men and women would become visible.

The national Incomes Register, which was introduced in 2019, allows more diversified statistics. Its use must be increased to ensure that more accurate information becomes available.

Quality in plans, transparency in wages

The simple explanation for the pay gap between women and men is segregation: women and men favour different sectors when seeking employment. As a rule, the provisions of collective agreements are non-discriminatory, but men tend to be hired more often for positions in which the pay system provides a better total income. However, there are also pay gaps within sectors and workplaces.

Pay discrimination is prohibited by law, and equal pay for the same work of equal value must be paid. In cooperation with their employees, companies should discuss the reasons for pay gaps, and how to support the same pay for the disadvantaged gender.

The pay gap between men and women is lowest in basic wages and highest in total income. Working time supplements, overtime compensation and performance-based pay explain the difference. These differences are often unreflected in the wage surveys behind equality plans. Their quality must be improved.

Transparency in the workplace is the most effective way to prevent and address pay discrimination. If you are unaware of the total wages paid in the workplace, you cannot be aware of any discrimination.

Different work of equal value

Rather than being related to the economic value, work of equal value refers to job difficulty. The difficulty of different jobs is compared, and the pay should be equal for jobs of the same difficulty level.

It would be easier to compare different jobs if organisation-wide salary systems were introduced more widely. This would mean the building of a company-specific salary system that includes all the different jobs.

Any questions? Contact our experts!

Merja Vihersalo

Merja Vihersalo

Työympäristöasiantuntija, Edunvalvontaosasto

Työsuojelu, tasa-arvo ja yhdenvertaisuus