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Overall assessment of equal pay measures recommends continuing and intensifying Equal Pay Programme

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 2.2.2023 9.39
Press release

Finland has implemented tripartite Equal Pay Programmes for four government terms, but the need for them has not gone away. The pay gap between women and men has narrowed slowly. This information comes from an overall assessment of the Equal Pay Programme that was published today.

The gender pay gap is now 15.6 per cent, and it is clearly higher in Finland than in the EU Member States on average. It is a constitutional obligation of the Government to promote equal pay.

“In Finland, the discussion on equal pay is characterised by frustration at the slow pace of narrowing the pay gap,” says Leila Kostiainen, Master of Laws, in her overall assessment of the

Equal Pay Programme and the Government’s equal pay measures for 2020–2023. According to her, all labour market parties see a need to reduce the gender pay gap and also consider it necessary to continue the Equal Pay Programme. However, the Programme must take account of changes in collective bargaining.  

The overall assessment presents a total of 11 recommendations for intensifying the equal pay measures. Two of the recommendations concern making structural changes to future Equal Pay Programmes and one making a long-term impact analysis.

Collective agreement parties as active players in the Equal Pay Programme

Because of changes in collective bargaining, efforts should be made to find ways of getting collective agreement parties to participate actively in the Equal Pay Programme.

“When the first Equal Pay Programme was launched some 16 years ago, Finland applied the system of comprehensive incomes policy settlements. In these settlements, it was possible to introduce special increases, such as gender equality bonuses and low-pay bonuses, in female-dominated and low-paid sectors. Now pay rises are determined during negotiations with individual unions and companies,” says Kostiainen.

Economic impact analysis needed

According to the overall assessment, this is an opportune time to make an economic impact analysis of factors affecting the narrowing of the pay gap between women and men. There is sufficient information about both the Equal Pay Programmes and the time preceding them.

The overall assessment of the Equal Pay Programme and the Government’s equal pay measures for 2020–2023 was published on 2 February.

The report includes an assessment of the effectiveness of the joint Equal Pay Programme 2020–2023 of the Government and central labour market organisations and the measures of the equal pay projects of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government, as well as the conclusions and recommendations made on the basis of them.   


Outi Viitamaa-Tervonen, Project Manager, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63230, [email protected]

Leila Kostiainen, tel. +358 400 805 417, [email protected]

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