Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers.

“It won't be possible to ask for the salaries of individual colleagues, but it will be possible to check if one's own level matches that of a comparable group,” Schwesig said.

The coalition agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) originally included a similar plan for companies with more than 500 employees.

But Spiegel reported that Schwesig wants to include all companies of whatever size in the new scheme, and that she told trade union and employers' representatives so at a recent meeting.

Such a regulation would lead to a “climate of mistrust and fishing expeditions,” Holger Schwanneke of the Central Federation of German Trade told the news magazine.

The Federation of German Industry, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Union of German Employers' Federations also warned of “unrest” and “dissatisfaction” if the law is passed.

They argue that it would be impossible to protect individuals' private information in compliance with data security rules if Schwesig's plan is realized.

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