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Annex B: G20 Policy Recommendations to Reduce Gender Gaps in Labour Force Participation and Pay by Improving Women's Job Quality

G20 Labour and Employment Ministers Meeting 2017
May 19, 2017, Bad Neunahr

In 2014, G20 leaders committed to reduce the gender gap in labour force participation by 25 per cent by 2025 (Brisbane Summit 2014), and G20 Labour and Employment Ministers agreed on Policy priorities to boost female participation, quality of employment and gender equity (Melbourne LEMM Declaration 2014). Acting on these commitments will also help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

G20 economies are making progress in improving women's employment outcomes, with the gender gap in labour force participation narrowing slightly in the majority of G20 members over recent years. However, this gap remains large in a number of G20 economies and has recently increased in some where there were relatively small gender gaps. Many countries are currently on track to achieve the Brisbane Goal but face the challenge of sustaining those trends over coming years, as shown in the report "Women at Work in G20 Countries" prepared by the EWG Chair of the German G20 Presidency 2017 in cooperation with the ILO and the OECD with contributions from the IMF and the WBG for the Labour and Employment Ministers' Meeting 2017. Other countries will need to take stronger actions to reach the goal by 2025, with all members encouraged to outline a credible pathway to achieving the goal in their G20 Employment Plans.

While G20 countries have also made progress in improving the quality of women's employment, persistent gaps in quality, in particular pay gaps, remain a major concern. Women are also seriously under-represented in middle and senior management positions, despite significant progress in their educational attainment, and their representation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) remains low. Women are at higher risk of low pay, underemployment and of working in the informal economy, as well as in insecure forms of employment. Further, while women work fewer hours in paid work than men, their working days are nonetheless longer when paid and unpaid care work are taken together. And this unpaid care work also makes a significant contribution to our economies. As a result, women are more likely than men to have limited access to social protection and face greater risks of old age poverty in some of our countries.

We therefore commit to strengthen our efforts, taking into account differing national circumstances, to maximise opportunities for women to enter the labour force, and to reduce gender pay gaps and contribute to reducing gender gaps in social protection.

Based on the G20 Job Quality Framework (Ankara LEMM Declaration 2015), we stress the importance of taking coherent and integrated action, focusing on the three dimensions of job quality: improving the quality of earnings; increasing labour market security; and achieving better working conditions. In doing so, we will pay specific attention to counteract gender stereotypes, and we will coordinate our initiatives with all relevant actors bearing in mind that our actions are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. We acknowledge that social dialogue enhances the opportunity to deal with these three dimensions of job quality and can contribute to improve career development for women.

i. Improving the quality of women's earnings

In light of the continued gaps in earnings between men and women and occupational and sectoral segregation, we will contribute to improving the level and distribution of women's earnings and improve women's earning capacity through consideration of the following policy actions in line with the Melbourne Policy priorities:

  1. Implement effective wage policies in line with the G20 Sustainable Wage Policy Principles, including to achieve equal pay for equal work or work of equal value also through pay transparency;
  2. Encourage, where applicable, social partners to promote equal pay for equal work or work of equal value;
  3. Promote business practices that prevent discrimination in the workplace, including in hiring and promotion decisions;
  4. Address occupational and sectoral segregation, as appropriate, including through addressing employment and career choice stereotypes for both men and women, as well as in relation to women's and girls' education choices and barriers for women's and girls' access to training, education, and employment in high-wage high growth companies, including in the STEM fields;
  5. Encourage employers to hire women in STEM related occupations and facilitate connections between employers and female graduates of STEM education and training systems, and encourage women to pursue STEM related careers, in particular through increasing the number of female STEM graduates and apprentices and targeted action to promote girls' interest in this area;
  6. 6. Support lifelong learning and skills development for women of all ages, and enable women to benefit from digitalization by helping them to develop relevant skills and taking targeted actions to address barriers to women in this area;
  7. Consider policies to increase the share of women in management positions, including through related targets, and mentoring and networking, both in the public and private sector accompanied by reporting and disclosure requirements, depending on national circumstances;
  8. Promote female entrepreneurship in line with the G20 Entrepreneurship Action Plan (Beijing LEMM Declaration 2016).

ii. Increasing women's labour market security

In order to improve women's labour market security, we will address the disproportionate share of women in informal employment in line with the ILO Recommendation concerning the transition from the informal to the formal economy (2015 No. 204) and reduce the number of women in low-pay and insecure forms of employment by taking the following policy actions in line with the Melbourne Policy priorities:

  1. Work towards formalising informal female dominated occupations such as domestic work and care work, including by considering tax incentives for employers, reducing costs for registering workers for social security, simplifying administrative procedures, and improving labour inspection mechanisms and compliance with labour law, according to national circumstances;
  2. Promote mechanisms to enhance social protection coverage and the protection of labour rights for domestic and care workers according to national circumstances;
  3. Encourage social partners' engagement with informal economy actors in order to improve working conditions and to work jointly with governments to facilitate transitions from the informal to the formal economy;
  4. Recognise and promote skills of informal workers;
  5. Ensure that minimum wage policies and collective agreements cover low-pay sectors and jobs in line with the G20 Sustainable Wage Policy Principles (Beijing LEMM Declaration 2016); and where appropriate, regularly adjust and increase minimum wages and in-work benefits notably through tripartite dialogue;
  6. Where appropriate, enhance protections for women in non-standard forms of employment including by improving access to and coverage of social protection, and reduce any penalties in social protection coverage associated with periods out of employment for family responsibilities;
  7. Upskill women in informal, low-pay, and non-standard forms of employment through special programmes including for young women and/or single mothers.

iii. Achieving better working conditions

As women and men still find it difficult to balance full-time employment with family and care responsibilities, we will strengthen policies for working conditions that enable and incentivise men and women to equitably reconcile work and family through the following policy actions in line with the Melbourne Policy priorities:

  1. Promote fair work arrangements including through social dialogue that allow more flexibility during the life-cycle such as flexible working time and teleworking schemes as well as opportunities to return to full-time employment after a period of part-time due to family responsibilities;
  2. Foster good quality part-time work through measures that include equal treatment in recruitment procedures and during employment, and in labour and social protection, and support for upskilling part-time workers;
  3. Take appropriate measures to limit excessive hours of work, to allow women and men to better reconcile work and family obligations;
  4. As appropriate, encourage support for women and men returning to work after leave due to family obligations, for example through training, cash-benefits, and return plans;
  5. Where necessary, introduce and implement legislation that prevents and protects women against discrimination, in particular mothers and part-time workers, and that prevents and protects women against sexual harassment and other forms of work related gender-based violence;
  6. Promote family-related leave arrangements, including paternity and parental leave arrangements which encourage fathers to take leave, and encourage implementation of such arrangements by public and private sector employers;
  7. Improve access to affordable and good quality child care and other formal social services for children and other dependents;
  8. Improve working conditions in the care sector and recognise the important role women play in the care sector, making efforts to formalise those working in informal care;
  9. Consider ways to avoid work disincentives for second earners in tax and benefit systems.

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Source: Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales