Swedes ignore equality law on salary surveys

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Swedes ignore equality law on salary surveys

Swedish employers are increasingly failing to keep tabs on whether men's and women's salaries are equal, a requirement stipulated by law.


The trade union Unionen has gone so far as to report Halmstad municipality to the Anti-discrimination board (Nämnden mot diskriminering) for failing to register its employees' salaries.

Companies with more than 25 employees are required by the Swedish discrimination law to perform salary surveys (lönekartläggning) at least once every three years.

In a review published on Thursday, the trade union Akademikerförbundet SSR warned that Swedish public sector employees were increasingly falling behind in their duty to map out incomes.

The law also sets a framework for which factors are legally acceptable when an employer wants to justify any discrepancy.

In a recent call-round to its union representatives on the ground, SSR found that only one in four negotiators felt the employer had given them adequate information about what men and women earned respectively.

A review also found that about half of the municipalities were neglecting to keep their salary surveys up to date.

"These results give us reason to believe that the employers either don't know what duties they have or they are neglecting it because there is no oversight," said SSR chairwoman Heike Erkers in a statement on Thursday.

Employers at county level were equally bad at performing salary surveys, which should contain not only raw income data but must also justify any differences in pay between job titles.

After unearthing the neglect, SSR on Thursday asked the government to act. It proposed that salary surveys should be mandatory once a year, instead of every three years.

It also set up possible steps to help employees get more leverage when negotiating their salary, for example that it be required by law for a company to state concrete reasons for setting a person's salary at the current level.

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