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.

Uncertainty About Unpaid Wages of WOW Flight Attendants

Flight attendants WOW air Icelandair

It is unclear whether the bankrupt estate of WOW Air will be able to fully settle salary-related preferential claims, says Sveinn Andri Sveinsson, Supreme Court Attorney and one of the trustees of the estate, RÚV reports. WOW Air declared bankruptcy in March of this year. The estate has approved salary-related preferential claims amounting to ISK 3.8 billion ($31,224,512 / €28,236,014). The estate’s assets are still being sold and its finances fluctuate week to week. The trustees met with the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association this week.

A Standard Meeting

There was nothing unusual about the meeting between WOW Air’s trustees and representatives of the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association, including the Association’s lawyer, Sveinn Andri stated. During the meeting, the trustees reviewed flight attendants’ demands, invoices, and other matters of dispute, the nature of which was not clarified. More meetings are expected in the future.

About 450 flight attendants have made salary-related preferential claims on the estate. A lot of work has been done to review these claims in detail, Sveinn Andri stated, however, it is unclear at the moment whether the estate will be able to pay outstanding salaries and salary-related fees.

Attempt to Settle All Preferential Claims

The Wage Guarantee Fund will repay a portion of the salaries, but it remains to be seen how much of the remaining balance the estate will be able to settle. All parties with preferential claims are equal in the eyes of the trustees and will receive equal pay. The trustees’ policy is to attempt to settle all preferential claims to prevent debts from falling on the government.

According to an article by Vísir in November, the estate is still disputing claims amounting to approximately ISK 1.3 billion ($10,698,773 / €9,674,486). Another division of estate meeting has been scheduled for January 30 to settle this dispute. The six thousand claims that have been declared of the estate amount to ca ISK 151 billion ($1.2 billion / €1.1 billion). The estate will not consider non-preferential claims as it is clear that the estate will not be able to pay them.

WOW Air was an Icelandic ultra-low-cost carrier founded in 2011 that operated services between Iceland, Europe, Asia, and North America.