French Companies Fined Millions for Underpaying Women

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Photo: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Five French companies face multi-million-euro fines for underpaying female employees, the Guardian reports. Women’s rights minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is laying down the hammer on some of the hundreds of companies that have failed to comply with years-old anti-discrimination legislation. At private firms in France, where women make an estimated 27 percent less than men, managers have been required to create “professional equality plans” since 2010, although many have not. Hence, the fine (one percent of the companies total payroll each month), introduced two years ago. “To be efficient, the legislation has to be dissuasive and above all plausible,” said Vallaud-Belkacem, who has issued ultimata to 500 other non-compliant companies. She doesn’t enjoy grounding anyone, in other words, but they leave her no choice.