Another Crack in Israel’s Glass Ceiling

20 March 2014

Last week, on International Women’s Day, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Equal Pay Law requiring certain employers to publicly report wages according to gender.

The act followed extensive advocacy efforts by SHATIL’s Equal Pay for Equal Work project, which also helped draft the amendment promoted by Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie.

“This year, we are marking the 50th anniversary of Israel’s Equal Pay Law. We welcome this important step towards equalizing wages and recognize that we still have a long way to go – especially regarding the private sector,” said Tamar Adelstein, coordinator of SHATIL’s Equalizing Wages in Israel’s Workforce.

The amendment mandates that public companies, NGOs, and other bodies will be legally obligated to publicize employee wages to make a distinction between men and women when reporting on salaries. The change will allow government agencies, NGOs, and employers to engage in better assessment, monitoring, and action against gender-based discrimination in salaries. It further emphasizes the responsibility of employers to identify and root out the phenomenon.

In addition, in a precedent-setting decision last week, the Jerusalem Labor Court ruled that the Jerusalem Municipality discriminated against two women employees by paying them less than men in the same position. The court ordered the municipality to compensate the women retroactively, to conduct a study on wages in the entire municipality, and to take steps to equalize them. The women were represented by SHATIL’s partners in the Equalizing Wages project, the Israel Women’s Network and the Equal Opportunities Employment Commission (EEOC).

Equalizing Wages in Israel’s Workforce is a three-year initiative, implemented by NIF grantees the Israel Women’s Network, the Adva Center and SHATIL, in consultation with the EEOC. The project works to increase awareness, knowledge, and capacities to equalize wages among the general public and among key actors in the public and private sectors; and to promote policies, practices, and regulations that will help combat gender-based salary discrimination.