Equal Pay Day; and an appeal

Yesterday the Fawcett Society reminded us:

“Thursday 10th November 2016 is Equal Pay Day (EPD). This means that women are effectively working for free from 10th November to the end of the calendar year, because on average they earn less than men. EPD is calculated using the mean full time gender pay gap , which is currently 13.9%.”

In Paris there were reports that a day earlier women downed tools for a couple of hours at the end of the day, reflecting the fact that the pay gap is a fraction bigger in France.  I believe that they returned to work the  next day, however.

Now for the good news: EPD 2016 falls  one day later than EPD 2015.  So the pay gap is closing.  At this rate it will have ‘closed’ in about 60 years – pretty much the rate Supreme Court judge Jonathan Sumption advocated.  But what does ‘closing’ mean?  Equality in the simple numerical sense – i.e. pay rates being identical – takes no account of women’s superior qualifications.  What would a truly meritocratic EPD look like, i.e. one where ‘equality’ referred to a correspondence between qualification and earnings?

Of course, if part-timers had been included, EPD would happen a good deal earlier, some time in October, since the gap is much wider if they are brought into the picture (though women part-timers actually have higher pay rates than male part-timers)..  That’s an opening for me to appeal for help:  my understanding is that some of the EU legislation governing temporary work defines ‘part-time’ as working 8 hours or less.  This definition is one that I recommend as part of the Paula Agenda in my PP book.  But I can’t find the EU text where this is used;  can anyone guide me to it?


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