DGP Equal Pay Certificates were awarded at IMPACT'24

Luc Williams

– Statistics on the wage gap look good in Poland compared to other EU countries, primarily due to the public sphere in which the rules of remuneration and promotion are relatively clear. It is worse in the private sphere and we need to work on it together, said Magdalena Sobkowiak-Czarnecka, Undersecretary of State in the European Union Affairs Division at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, during the debate preceding the certificate presentation ceremony. She admitted that we still deal with inequality and injustice in public offices and institutions.

This was confirmed by Sebastian Sajnóg, an analyst at the Polish Economic Institute. The PIE report he mentioned shows that the fact that women in Poland are much better educated than men (they constitute almost two thirds of the group of employees with a master's degree or higher) does not protect them from the wage gap. On the contrary: the higher their education, the less they earn compared to their colleagues in similar positions.

Magdalena Sobkowiak-Czarnecka: Women lack courage

– According to various calculation methods, the wage gap in Poland ranges from four to several percent. This does not differ from the EU average, which does not mean that we should accept injustice. When someone tells me: “But it's only 10 percent,” I answer that it's about specific amounts that we, women, do not receive for the work we do, emphasized Magdalena Sobkowiak.

She recalled that the Women in the Center association she founded works with women all over the country. Much of the conversation revolves around the wage gap. They show, among other things, that a significant number of women do not have the courage to demand decent remuneration – both at the beginning of their career and with subsequent raises (which they also demand less frequently than their male colleagues).

– That is why it is necessary to educate women, strengthen their self-confidence and sense of value. We cannot feel ashamed when talking about money, said the minister. She explained that she was inspired by Mika Brzezińska, daughter of prof. Zbigniew Brzezinski, sister of the current US ambassador to Poland, who realized that as a TV star presenting a morning program, she earns much less than her partner. Amazed, she researched this phenomenon and wrote a book about it, “Know Your Worth. About money, women and fair wages.

Joanna Burnos: Don't punish women for caring

Joanna Burnos, founder of the Leaderis Institute, expert of Team Europe, member of the program board of The Alliance of Her, explained that one of the main reasons for the pay gap is that it is mainly women who devote their time to caring for children, seniors and other people in need. According to a report by the EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Protection Council (EPSCO), women constitute 90 percent. all caregivers in Europe and because they take care of others, they lose EUR 242 billion a year – this is how much their earnings are reduced.

– An additional effect of this phenomenon is the pension gap. To put it bluntly: we face a kind of punishment for motherhood and a punishment for all the functions of caring for dependent people, although we largely do the work of the state and the rest of society – said Joanna Burnos. She recalled that the principle of equal pay for women and men was enshrined in the Treaty of Rome in 1957 in Art. 157. Yet seven decades later, the topic remains relevant. The current, very progressive composition of the European Commission, after lively discussions, has taken a number of actions to accelerate the desired changes. It serves, among others, directive on pay transparency and equal pay, which applies not only to the amount of pay itself, but also to other actions and behaviors of employers.

– Organizations employing 250 people and more will have to report the actual situation and if it turns out that the pay gap is 5%. or more, they will have to implement remedial actions – reminded Joanna Burnos.

Sebastian Sajnóg expressed his satisfaction that the Central Statistical Office will soon start publishing more detailed data on the earnings of women and men in similar positions – taking into account important factors that have so far escaped statistics. This will help in comparisons and in the fight against inequality. – The PIE report “Work and Home” showed, among other things, that these wage disparities are a consequence of the unequal division of household and care responsibilities, which is still transferred to women – said the PIE analyst. The institute's report shows that women who care for small or sick children are constantly passed over for raises and promotions. The wage gap adjusted for such elements is not 4% at all, but almost 10%.

Katarzyna Broniarek-Niemczycka: Pay raises for mothers and fathers

This phenomenon was noticed some time ago in some international companies. – Our adjusted gap is 1.3%. We have been studying it since 2018, conducting regular audits, because in order to effectively counteract inequalities, you must first see them and explore their causes – emphasized Katarzyna Broniarek-Niemczycka, communications director of IKEA Retail Polska. She explained that the company – although it comes from Scandinavia – operates in identical circumstances to all others in Poland. – We do not employ imported Swedes, only several thousand Poles. And it is possible to introduce equality principles with the full support of employees, assured the manager. She emphasized that in her company, people on maternity or parental leave are included in all pay increases, and can also count on a “plush return” to professional duties, with the full support of the employer. She experienced it herself.

Referring to Magdalena Sobkowiak's statement about women's lack of courage when talking about money, Katarzyna Broniarek-Niemczycka talked about a job candidate at IKEA who – in the employer's opinion – asked for… too low a salary. – I offered her significantly higher prices, just in the name of equality and justice – said the IKEA manager. She admitted that, according to analyses, the reason for the persistence of the wage gap (small, but still) in this company is the previously mentioned unequal burden of caregiving responsibilities: parental leave and leave related to childcare remain the domain of women.

– So we introduced four weeks of fully paid paternity leave from 2020. Almost 400 colleagues have already used it, some several times. This is great progress. We are aware that there is a mental process taking place here that takes time, said Katarzyna Broniarek-Niemczycka.

Katarzyna Woszczyna: CRP DGP is an asset on the labor market

Katarzyna Woszczyna, president of Alliance Business Connect, author of the idea and co-creator of the certificate, admitted that living in a bubble of business leaders, like Mika Brzezińska, she had not been aware of the existence, and especially the scale, of the wage gap for a long time. – The texts of editor Zbigniew Bartuś opened my eyes and motivated me to act. Today, awareness of the wage gap is growing rapidly. At the same time, although we have treaties, directives and appropriate provisions in the constitution and labor code, we know that this gap will not close on its own. That's why, together with Monika Błońska, we reached for solutions used around the world to motivate and educate people to change. We found inspiration in Iceland, where a statutory standard of equal pay has been in force since 2018, to which all employers are subject, explained Katarzyna Woszczyna.

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, which has been drawing attention to the problem of the wage gap for years, has become a natural ally and organizer of this groundbreaking project in Poland. This is how the DGP Equal Pay Certificate was created. As Monika Błońska from the Mariański Group said during the presentation of the first certificates, this is a specific tool that allows, through first a survey and then a detailed audit, to verify the remuneration system in every company and institution, both large and small, large and micro – regardless of on the forms of employment used.

– Today, the certificate already plays a huge awareness-raising and educational role, and at the same time, having a certificate is a great differentiator in the difficult labor market. It's a banner saying: “Women, come to us because we know what the problems with pay inequality are, we respect your work, we appreciate it and we reward you fairly,” said Katarzyna Woszczyna.

Minister Magdalena Sobkowiak-Czarnecka emphasized that she was very happy with the joint initiative of business and opinion-forming media, and at the same time declared the government's actions aimed at solving the problem of the wage gap on many levels. – When I took office and asked to check where we were as a country with EU directives, it turned out that the regulations regarding women's participation in management boards and the pay gap had been protested by the previous government and Poland was against them only because the text included the word “gender”, i.e. “sex”. We need to urgently implement these directives, but also educate society about the causes of inequality, showing the full picture and purpose of the directives. As Donald Tusk's government, we will do this consistently, declared Magdalena Sobkowiak-Czarnecka.

Sebastian Sajnóg: We need education

Sebastian Sajnóg and Katarzyna Broniarek-Niemczycka agreed with the minister that directives alone are not enough. – Social awareness is equally important. Women should know that they simply deserve equal pay for equal work and negotiate salaries more boldly, emphasized the PIE analyst. The IKEA representative emphasized the role of the organizations themselves and their leaders.

Katarzyna Woszczyna agreed that, in fact, there is great driving power in society, in enterprises, among entrepreneurs and managers – leaders, in activities such as CRP DGP. – We dream that everyone in Poland could be proud of the DGP Equal Pay Certificate. Then our mission will be successfully completed. We took it at the right time, when awareness is growing that women in the labor market have huge untapped potential. To encourage them to be professionally active, we must create appropriate conditions for them. Equal pay is an absolute foundation. I'm sure this will be quite obvious to the generations now growing up. Therefore, we encourage everyone: check yourselves for equality and move towards it with CRP DGP – concluded Katarzyna Woszczyna.

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