Gender equality: implementation has top priority!

French Act No. 2018-771 of 5 September 2018 on the freedom to choose one’s professional future career establishes the Gender Equality Index, a tool designed to encourage companies gender pay gap.

Decree No. 2019-15 of 8 January 2019 implementing the provisions aiming to eliminate the pay gap between women and men in the company , and to combat sexual abuses and gender-based misconducts in the workplace specifies the obligations of companies, while indicating the calculation and assessment methods of the index.

This 100-point index, is calculated each calendar year using four indicators for companies having 50 to 250 employees:

  1. the pay gap between women and men;
  2. the difference in the distribution of individual wage increases;
  3. the percentage of female employees receiving a wage increase returning from maternity leave;
  4. the number of people of the under-represented sex among the 10 highest remunerations


This year, the relevant companies will have to publish the index on their website and incorporate it in the economic and employment database made available by the employer to the company’s employment and economic committee by 1st March 2020 at the latest (Article D. 1142-4 and Art. D. 1142-5 of the French Labour Code).

Lastly, the indicators and results of the Index shall be submitted to the relevant departments of the Ministry of Labour, using a template and a tele-declaration procedure defined by ministerial order (Article D. 1142-5 of the Labour Code).

If the result of the Index is less than 75 points, the employer shall have three years to put in place, through negotiation or a unilateral decision, appropriate and relevant corrective measures that would enable it to reach the 75 points threshold (Articles D. 1142-6 and D. 1142-8 of the Labour Code).

Companies that would fail to publish their Index or fail to implement corrective measures could be liable to a financial penalty of up to 1% of the total payroll (Article L. 1142-10 of the Labour Code).

It should be noted that in the event of difficulties in the calculation of the Index, or in the implementation of appropriate corrective measures, companies have the possibility to seek help from the advisors appointed by the DIRECCTE [Regional Directorate for companies, competition, consumption, work and employment] (Article D. 1142-7 of the Labour Code).

As always, Lmt Avocats is at your disposal to help you implement these new rules.

Thierry Cheymol