Wage Statistics Committee Reports that Women Earn 86% of Men’s Wages

In their spring report, the Wage Statistics Committee reports that women in Iceland still earn some 86% of what men do.

The report examined the wages of individuals working full time. Although average monthly income is largely the same for men and women, the pay gap is most noticeable in total annual salary, perhaps suggesting that men benefit disproportionately from bonuses, overtime pay, and other sources.

Guðbjörg Andrea Jónsdóttir, chairperson of the Wage Statistics Committee, said in an interview that the pay gap varies significantly between regions and industries. The most pronounced difference is found in the government, where women earn an average of 85% of men’s total salaries. Notably, the municipalities have a much more equitable wage distribution, with women working for Reykjavík City earning 95% of men’s salaries.

These differences take place against a generally positive economic outlook for most Icelandic households, with wages rising an average of 23% since last year. Workers in Reykjavík have especially benefitted from this increase, with wages rising an average of 30% for the capital area.

Women have benefitted more than men have from this rise in wage, primarily because they are more likely to hold lower-paying jobs than men.

The Wage Statistics Committee was founded in 2019 in cooperation with the state, municipalities, and labour organizations to share information on wages in Iceland and better negotiate labour contracts.

Nearly 100 Companies Overdue for Equal Pay Certification

Just under a quarter of the companies that are legally required to obtain equal pay certification still had yet to do so at the end of 2021. This according to new data published by the Directorate of Equality on Friday. A total of 415 companies should have completed certification by the end of 2021, but 94 (22.65%) of them had yet to do so.

The equal pay certification mandate applies to any company that employs 25 or more workers on an annual basis, using the calendar year as a reference period. Per the government’s website, 147,000 employees, or roughly 80% of those who are active on the labour market, are covered by this mandate.

Table on Equal Pay Certification – Status at the end of 2021. Via the Directorate of Equality; jafnretti.is

The data shows that it is primarily companies with 90-149 employees that have yet to complete their certification. Fifty-eight of the 98 companies in this bracket, or 59.18%, are currently uncertified. Fifteen of the 54 qualifying municipalities (27.78%) have also yet to complete the certification.

Equal pay certification became a legal mandate in July 2017, with the goal of “combating the gender pay gap and promoting gender equality in the labour market.” As of November 14, 2018, however, the grace period for companies to acquire certification was extended. Companies with an average of 250 employees or more were supposed to complete certification by December 31, 2019. Companies with an average of 150-249 employees were given until December 31, 2020. Companies with 90-142 employees had until December 31, 2021. Companies with 25-89 employees have until the end of this year.

Per Friday’s announcement, however, the Directorate of Equality now believes that those companies that were supposed to complete the certification process by the end of 2019 and 2020 have been given “ample time” to do so. As such, the Directorate is currently preparing to announce its decision on the imposition of daily fines.