How much do your colleagues earn? You will soon be able to know

How much do your colleagues earn? You will soon be able to know
How much do your colleagues earn? You will soon be able to know

What does the directive entail?

“This is a European directive that must be transposed into Belgian law by June 7, 2026,” says Dries Rutten of HR service provider Acerta. “Because that has not yet happened, not all details are known yet. What is already certain is that companies with more than 250 employees will have to report annually to the government as well as to employees and trade unions about the remuneration within the company. For companies between 100 and 250 employees, this is every three years. Even smaller companies are exempt. That report must describe the wages per job category, taking into account the profiles: seniority, level of education, work experiences, etc. The report must mainly show what the wage gap is between the lowest and highest earning employees for equivalent work. In addition, you get additional rights as an applicant and employee.”

What rights are those?

“Applicants must already have insight into what they will earn during the recruitment procedure,” says Rutten. “It is not yet mandatory for the employer to mention this. In addition, employers are no longer allowed to ask what the applicant’s previous salary was. An example: a company that tries to hire an employee from a competitor is no longer allowed to ask that person how much he or she earns there and then offer some extra pay. There must be its own remuneration policy with the aim of providing pay for work.”

“From then on, employees will also be able to ask their boss what colleagues earn,” says Els Vanderhaegen of HR service provider Securex. “In concrete terms, you will not be able to request the salary of one specific colleague, but you will be able to request what is paid for someone who does the same work.”

“The specific amount the employer must give has not yet been determined,” says Rutten. “For example, it could be an average wage for employees with a similar position, or a scale of the lowest and highest earners with the same position.”

What is the purpose of that?

“Eliminating the pay gap between men and women,” says Vanderhaegen. “For people who perform the same job and have the same profile, the pay difference may only be greater than 5 percent if it is based on gender-neutral and objective criteria. If that is not the case, the company must take measures to eliminate the wage difference.”

So give a raise?

“Employees who are victims of wage discrimination based on gender, for example, are entitled to full compensation,” says Vanderhaegen. “In addition to a raise, this also concerns the full payment of overdue wages and bonuses and compensation for loss of opportunities and any other damage.”

What if the company does nothing?

“Sanctions may then follow,” says Rutten. “We will only know what these will be exactly when Belgian legislation is in place. But the European directive states that Member States must prescribe sanctions for infringements of this principle of equal pay. However, the company is always given a reasonable period to make up the difference.”

But regardless of the same position, level of education and number of years of seniority, someone can still have more talent for a particular position. “That is why there is still a margin of five percent, so that there is some room,” says Vanderhaegen. “And as mentioned, there may be differences in pay, but they must be based on objective and gender-neutral criteria.”

“Such an objective criterion can, for example, consist of objectives,” says Rutten. “For two colleagues with the same position and profile, one of the two can receive a bonus at the end of the year because he achieved the objectives and the other did not. Something like that justifies a bonus.”

Can you go to your boss before 2026 and ask what colleagues in the same position earn?

“You can ask for it, but you cannot yet legally enforce it,” says Vanderhaegen. “Although most companies may already have a certain policy about this.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: colleagues earn


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