Aegon recently added a new dimension to corporate social responsibility in the Netherlands. Equal pay for men and women. Aegon was the first company in the Netherlands to sign a collective labor agreement that stipulates that men and women must be equally rewarded for equal work.
In the collective labor agreement, this is not just a matter of words, as it has been agreed that research into the current remuneration will be carried out before 1 February 2019. This study will be shared with the unions and Aegon's Central Works Council. In this way, the Central Works Council can ensure that, if there is a difference in pay, the employer ensures that the difference disappears.
The Netherlands is not at the forefront of eliminating the gender pay gap. In other European countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, but also in countries such as Iceland and Australia, more attention is paid to ensuring that companies provide insight into the differences in pay between men and women for equal work and that there is a duty of transparency. Companies must make wage differences between men and women transparent in their annual reports. This is not the case in the Netherlands.
Figures from the CBS show that women in the Netherlands earn more than 16% less than men. This pay gap can only partially be attributed to 'logical' objective factors, such as part-time work or the employment of women in sectors where wages are lower. Research by the CBS shows an unexplained remaining pay gap of 7% on average.
US lawsuits are being conducted on a large scale. In a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs, more than 2,300 women were admitted to a mass claim procedure for differentiating between men's and women's pay. This year Google has also been confronted with a claim from female employees who claimed to be paid less than their male counterparts for the same work.
In the Netherlands, further legislation is being drawn up to eliminate the difference in pay. Of course, there is no need for such a law if companies follow Aegon's example on a voluntary basis and proactively. Let Aegon's be an example for other companies to do the right thing and take corporate social responsibility!
Maya Boot, student-trainee in Baker McKenzie's Amsterdam office, contributed to this article.