Equal pay for equal work – What does the new law on pay equity?

As a “breakthrough”, Federal Minister of Family Affairs Manuela Schwesig (SPD) has celebrated her new law this week, which should ensure greater transparency in salaries. In companies with more than 200 employees, women will be able to find out what their male colleagues earn in comparable functions.

Equal pay for equal work – What does the new law on pay equity?


Federal Minister of Family Affairs Manuela Schwesig
Participants in a rally in Berlin demand wage justice. (Dpa / picture-alliance / Stephanie Pilick)


Because there is still a gap between what men and women earn a pay gap of 21 percent. Companies with more than 500 employees are also required to report on what they are doing against this gap. It was not a matter of looking at his colleague’s pay slip, Schwesig said. “It’s about breaking with a taboo.” But not everyone is happy about this taboo. Employers’ associations tend to see it as a “bureaucratic monster” and call for other incentives to better pay and promote women in businesses.

Campus & Career asks: Why do men get higher salaries? Can the new law close the wage gap between men and women? What do companies need to do to create more transparency? How does the regulation affect future salary negotiations and the company climate? What kind of incentives and support do women need in order not to be braked professionally and financially?


  • Elke Holst, Research Director at the German Institute for Economic Research
  • Stephanie Bschorr, President of the Association of German Entrepreneurs
  • Julia Borggräfe, Head of Human Resources at Messe Berlin

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Transparent income in Sweden that was a long established practice


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