What is Portugal doing to reduce the gender pay gap?

Portugal is tackling the gender pay gap through legislative and non-legislative initiatives, such as projects, campaigns, tools and reports, aiming to build knowledge, raise awareness and facilitate the needed changes.

From the main legislative initiatives on equal pay that were approved in Portugal, we would highlight Law no. 60/2018, of 21 August, which establishes new dimensions in the context of the policy on wage transparency. The law contains four types of mechanisms that enforce the principle of equal pay for equal work and of equal value. First, the annual availability of statistical information about pay differences, by company (balance sheet) and by sector of activity (barometer). Second, companies have an obligation to ensure a transparent remuneration policy based on objective and non-discriminatory criteria. Third, once the differences have been identified, companies must submit to the Authority for Working Conditions (ACT) a plan for assessing these differences to be implemented for one year. Finally, any worker may request the Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment to issue an opinion on the existence of pay discrimination based on sex.

Within the context of Law no. 60/2018, of august 21st, a Sector-level Barometer on pay disparities was recently introduced. The Barometer is produced by the Cabinet of Strategy and Planning of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security based on information provided every year by companies and includes detailed data on pay disparities by economic activity sector. The first edition of the Barometer includes sector-level data on the adjusted gender pay gap, providing an innovative source of information on this subject. The Barometer is meant to improve statistics, raise awareness and promote a wide-ranging debate on equal pay in the Portuguese society.

With regard to non-legislative initiatives, the project Equality Platform and Standard, funded by the Programme Work-life Balance and Gender Equality of EEA Grants 2014-2021, will build the Portuguese Reference Document for an Equal Pay Standard Management System, which will help organisations wishing to implement a process leading to equal pay between women and men.

The National Equal Pay Day  is celebrated every year to raise public awareness in order to reverse the persistent difference between what women earn and what men earn, disseminating information on inequalities among the main stakeholders within the labour market, enterprises and employers’ associations of the major economic sectors as well as the social partners.

A new National Campaign for Equal Pay – Eu mereço igual (“I deserve the same”) was presented on June 27, 2019, with the objective of raising awareness, elucidate and motivate the society for the need to paradigm shift. This campaign emphasizes that reconcile the interests of female and male workers and of employers is a clear priority in the law on the promotion of equal pay for women and men, stressing that equality between women and men is a right and not a privilege.

This campaign will be disclosed on television, radio, social networks and billboards in September (as part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the CITE – Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment) and in November, celebrating the National Equal Pay Day.

Two web tools that enable companies to analyse their personnel and pay structure and understand whether the pay differences founded are gender-based or not are available in Portugal, on CITE’s website. These tools – Self-Assessment Survey on Equal Pay between Men and Women in Companies and Gender Pay Gap Calculator (Calculator DSG) – allow companies to self-testing and self-regulate in this matter and voluntarily adopting measures and practices that can correct the gaps found.

With a view to a survey on wage differentials in the various economic activities, the first Report on Wage Differences by Economic Activity was published in 2013. In 2014, this report was presented and discussed in the Standing Committee for Social Dialogue, which led to the drafting of recommendations proposed by the Government with the aim of eliminating the wage differences that have no objective justification.


How can EPIC be relevant to Portugal?

As an initiative driven by ILO, UN Women and OECD, organisations that have a very distinct but complementary constituencies and mandates that bring collaborative advantages, EPIC will be relevant to Portugal by:

  • Promoting peer to peer exchanges on what measures and policies in the workplace or nationally may work best and why;
  • Identifying and disseminating good practices on different sectors;
  • Helping to improve the collection and analysis of relevant statistics; and
  • Fostering the engagement in concerted action at international level in order to accelerate the pace of change towards equal pay.