Experts exchange views on promoting equal pay

Bern, 17.05.2022 - Experts from cantons, communes and government-related entities met in Bern today at a conference organised by the Federal Office for Gender Equality FOGE. The conference focused on the implementation of the Charter for equal pay in the public sector and its future development. The symposium took place as part of a series of events organised by the Confederation on equal pay.

The public sector should serve as an example in eliminating gender pay gaps. So what can public authorities, government-related entities and companies with a public mandate do to implement the constitutional principle of equal pay for work of equal value? What possibilities do they have as employers, in public procurement tenders or as bodies offering subsidies to promote equal pay?

These questions were the main topics of the symposium of the Federal Office for Gender Equality, which took place this morning in the Hotel Bern. More than 100 HR managers, specialists from the procurement and subsidy sectors, gender equality officers and representatives from the public authorities as well as other experts interested in equal pay took part.

"In order to make gender pay equality a reality, employers must be prepared to look closely at the situation on a regular basis, communicate the results clearly and in detail, and make adjustments where necessary," Sylvie Durrer, Director of the FOGE, stated in her welcome address. Representatives from the cantons of Bern, Vaud and Ticino, as well as the city of Zurich, showed how they ensure through controls that companies providing services in procurement or subsidies respect equal pay between women and men. The city of Lausanne and the commune of Riddes in the canton of Valais explained how they are tackling the root causes of wage inequality by adapting their wage systems. The symposium was held as the conclusion of a series of events organised by the Confederation on the issue of equal pay. Since the beginning of March, around 300 people have participated in more than 20 webinars and workshop discussions. 

Equal pay is a major concern for the Federal Council. This is a central goal of the 2030 Gender Equality Strategy adopted by the government in spring 2021. In addition to the provision of tools for equal pay analysis (Logib modules 1 and 2), a report on strengthening the Charter for Equal Pay in the Public Sector, which is expected to be published at the end of the year, has been included as a measure. The aim is not only to
broaden the Charter's support among the public sector and government-related entities. In order to send a strong signal to private and public employers, the measures to promote equal pay must be well implemented. To this end, the Confederation will provide the signatories with information, templates and examples of application and ensure a regular exchange.

According to the Federal Constitution, women and men are entitled to equal pay for work of equal value. Nevertheless, the unexplained wage gap between women and men in the economy as a whole averages 8.1% according to the latest wage structure survey (LSE 2018) by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (LSE 2016: 7.7%). For women, this is a shortfall of CHF 686 per month. 

Federal Councillor Alain Berset launched the Charter for equal pay in the public Sector in 2016. By signing the Charter, public authorities, government-related entities and companies with a public mandate confirm their commitment to reducing gender pay gaps. To date, 17 cantons, 125 communes and the federal government have signed the Charter. With the recent accession of the ch Foundation / Conference of Cantonal Governments, 89 companies and government-related organisations have also signed the Charter.

Address for enquiries

Federal Office for Gender Equality
Schwarztorstrasse 51
3003 Bern


Federal Office for Gender Equality

General Secretariat FDHA