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Gender pay gaps in secondary working conditions found across the EU - September 2, 2016

Gender pay gaps are not limited to wages alone. This is revealed by a recent pioneering study in 27 EU-members states. Expense compensation, annual allowances, bonuses, insurance and pensions schemes show gender gaps too, across the EU, and most frequently favour men. Yet in all countries working women do participate in such schemes as well, in about a third of them even more frequently than men do. Therefore it seems that heightened awareness and assertivity of female employees during negotiations might reduce these secondary gender pay gaps.

In 24 of the 27 countries sufficient observations were collected through the online WageIndicator salary surveys, to which over half a million employees contributed their data, in the period between January 2014 and July 2016. The study is the first to zoom in on gender gaps in the field of secondary working conditions.

Expense compensation

Expense compensation is quite common. Only in 6 countries less than 10% of the employees report receiving an expense compensation. In 12 countries the percentages range between 10 and 20%. In another 3 countries the outcomes are between 20 and 30%, and in 2 countries between 30 and 40%. Belgium reports over 40% of coverage. Yet gender differences are substantial. In 19 countries men report expense compensation more frequently than women, in the remaining 5 countries the opposite holds. The gender gap for countries where men more often report expense compensation ranges between 1% and 8%. The gender gap for countries where women more often report an expense compensation ranges between near 0 and 4%.

Annual allowances

For 24 of the 27 countries sufficient information was available to reveal substantial gender differences regarding bonuses. 18 countries favour men: the gender differences vary between near 0 and 6 percentage-points. In the 6 countries favouring women the differences range from 1 to 7 percentage points, with the exception of Estonia where 30% of women against only 7% of men report that they were paid annual bonuses.

Participation in profit schemes by gender varies widely across the 22 countries for which data is sufficient. The lowest gender gaps (around 1%) are found in Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden. Belgium (11%) and the UK (12%) show the highest gaps. Yet, these gender differences as to participation in profit schemes all favour men, with the exception of Poland where women score slightly better than men in profit schemes.

Quite in keeping with this picture gender gaps for vouchers, discounts or payments in kind mostly favour men, i.e. in 17 of the 22 countries with sufficient data. Here the highest gender gap is found in the United Kingdom with 10 percentage-points. Only in 5 countries women receive vouchers, discounts and payments in kind more often than men, between near 0 in Austria and 8 percentage-points in Finland.

Pension and insurance schemes

In terms of employer's contributions to pension and insurance schemes, again, the analysis reveals substantial gender gaps, mostly in favour of men. This is the case in 15 of the 24 countries with sufficient data. In this group differences range from 1 in Finland to 20 percentage-points in Malta. Yet, in 9 countries the differences favour women, varying between near 0 in Greece and 27 percentage-points for Estonia. In 16 of the 24 countries the insurance gap favours men, with gender differences ranging from near 0 in Greece to 16 percentage-points in Malta. In 8 countries the differences favour women however, from near 0 in Romania to 24 percentage-points in Estonia.

Report: Analyses of the gender pay gap in monetory and non monetory allowances and bonuses, was conducted by University of Amsterdam/AIAS. This report is part of the WITA project.

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