Swiss firms that don't comply with equality law to be revealed by new blacklist

Swiss firms that don't comply with equality law to be revealed by new blacklist

Travail.Suisse, an umbrella union representing the majority of workers in Switzerland, has unveiled a new website where staff can report their employers for not complying with the Gender Equality Act. The organisation argued that publicly black-listing firms that are not transparent about wage discrimination will encourage said companies to follow the rules and take action to close the gender pay gap.

Large Swiss companies to publish discrimination data in June 2023

Thanks to the revised Gender Equality Act, signed by the Swiss government in 2020, by June 30, 2023, companies with 100 employees or more will have to have conducted a full analysis into whether women and men are paid fairly at their firms. The results of these studies are meant to be communicated transparently to staff.

However, Travail.Suisse noted that there are no legal punishments for not publishing the reports, with many fearing that international companies may simply refuse to comply. That is why, from June 1, the union has launched a website that allows employees to anonymously report their employers, should the firms refrain from openly publishing their studies on gender discrimination. 

This so-called “blacklist” would then be published by the organisation once the claims are vetted. Companies would remain on the blacklist until they “comply with their legal obligations.”

Progress still to be made regarding pay in Switzerland

Despite making progress in recent years, Travail.Suisse noted that the “unexplained” wage gap between women and men in Switzerland remains between 8 and 9 percent. For women on full-time work contracts, this means an annual average loss of 9.412 francs, totalling 432.540 francs during their working life.

The move to establish a “snitching hotline” has gone down well with Swiss unions. A spokesperson for the Syna union, Véronique Rebetez, said that the method allows them to “sanction companies that break the law, [which], to date, had no negative consequences to fear.” 

"By effectively enforcing wage analyses, we are taking a small but important step towards more equal pay," Rebetez added. She made the point that openly publishing data on gender discrimination will provide a catalyst for firms to actually address the issue.

Swiss Employers' Union calls the idea absurd

Others are not so keen, with Ulrich Bigler, director of the Swiss Union of Arts and Crafts, telling 20 Minuten that the idea “amounts to locking companies in a pillory.” He added that anonymously reporting employers could be in violation of some staff's work contracts and that by breaking said contracts, whistle-blowers could lose their jobs as a result.

The Swiss Employers’ Union is also not a fan, with a spokesperson telling the newspaper that a “blacklist of wage discrimination, [where a company] is denounced without effective proof, is absurd.” They argued that the majority of firms are willing to disclose their reports on gender discrimination and that the information currently being submitted is “positive.”

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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