The Federal Act on Gender Equality of 24 March 1995 (in force since 1 July 1996; GEA) aims to facilitate the enforcement of the constitutional right of men and women to equal pay for work of equal value. In reality, however, there is still an inexplicable gender pay gap.
In order to eliminate the existing gender pay gap, the Swiss legislator has decided to amend the GEA with a new section containing additional government measures to enforce the right for equal pay for female and male employees. The amendment to the GEA will come into force on 1 July 2020 and will be valid for a period of 12 years (sunset clause), i.e. until 30 June 2032.
Subject of the Amendment: Obligation to Equal Pay Analysis
With the forthcoming amendment of the GEA, employers are obliged to conduct an internal equal pay analysis. Employers must carry out the analysis according to a scientific and legally compliant method. The federal government provides a free standard analysis tool (“Logib”: https://www.ebg.admin.ch/ebg/en/home/services/equal-pay-self-test-tool–logib.html).
There will be no state inspection or reporting obligation to the state. However, the conducted analysis must be reviewed and verified by an independent body. At the employer’s discretion, such independent body can either be (i) an audit firm approved under the Audit Supervision Act, (ii) an organisation pursuant to Article 7 GEA or (iii) an employee representation pursuant to the Swiss Participation Act. The audit firm (i) conducts a formal review of the equal pay analysis and must prepare a report for the employer’s management within one year of the analysis being completed. If the review is alternatively to be carried out by an organisation pursuant to Article 7 GEA (ii) or an employee representation (iii), the employer must conclude an agreement on the procedure for reviewing and reporting.