Forum to discuss gender pay gaps in Hungary



Although certainly not unique to Hungary, the shortfall in pay for women compared to men in numerous sectors and jobs will soon be subject to talks initiated by the Ministry for National Economy within the Standing Consultation Forum of the Private Sector and the Government, noted a report in economic daily Világgazdaság.

The session planned for February is set to address the wage gap between the genders, a problem affecting the entire European Union that necessitates the introduction of a wage monitoring system in member states, said the report.

The European Social Charter, the Council of Europe treaty that guarantees fundamental social and economic rights within the EU, prohibits detrimental differentiation between the sexes, as does Hungaryʼs law on equal opportunities, observed Imre Palkovics, chairman of the National Federation of Workersʼ Councils (MOSZ).

If an employee reports discrimination of this kind, then the responsible authority investigates the matter and, if the complaint is upheld, has the power to impose sanctions, he added.

Palkovics cited the case of Iceland, where a special law came into force from January stipulating that no distinction in pay can be made between men and women working in the same job or position.

Instances of such pay discrepancies can nevertheless be pinpointed in the private sphere in Hungary, even if such discrimination qualifies as a breach of the law, acknowledged Ferenc Dávid, general secretary of the National Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers (VOSZ). Dávid called for change in the prevailing attitude across Europe, which he ascribed to various social and cultural expectations, arguing that more women in middle and upper management positions would raise wage levels across the board.

According to 2016 data from the National Employment Service (NFSZ), operating under the aegis of the Ministry for National Economy, women in managerial positions in the private sector in Hungary earn HUF 578,000 per month on average, compared to HUF 657,000 for men.

The discrepancy is even more stark in certain individual segments, nowhere more so than in finance and insurance, where women earn HUF 417,000 on average, compared to HUF 673,000 for men, the cited NFSZ data show.

Curiously, the data also reveal that in the segment of transportation and warehousing, women earn more than men, HUF 286,000 per month compared to HUF 267,000 for men. Women also earn more in the social sector, although Világgazdaság stressed that this may be due to the different jobs carried out by men and women in this area.

Gender pay gaps are less significant in public administration, both in managerial and advisory positions, data cited in the report indicated.

Edit Farkas, head of recruitment at labor agency Man at Work (sic), told Világgazdaság that job ads make no distinction between men and women in terms of pay for the same job; however, she added, the glass ceiling effect is still discernible, for example in certain areas of engineering and R&D, where female leaders are still lacking.

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