The aim of the project is to find solutions for reducing the gender wage gap in cooperation with social partners in two sectors: finance and insurance sector and healthcare sector.  Also, Europe-wide network and virtual platform “Gender Wage-Watchers” will be created that will consist of representatives of different trade unions, employers, experts of gender equality and equal treatment, scientists, policy makers and other interested parties. All those interested in the topic can find information concerning the project and measures on web platform. Also, they can find recommendations to improve the situation and express their opinion.

The situation of Estonia

In those sectors, the gender wage gap in Estonia is the highest among EU countries.

Working conditions, including salary in financial service and insurance sector are determined via individual negotiations between the employer and employee.Although in 2013 the Union of Estonian Financial Sector Employees (Eesti Finantssektori Töötajate Liit, EFL) was created, they have not concluded any collective agreements yet.

Still, many larger companies in the sector have elaborated quite comprehensive personnel management systems including salary systems that one the hand may limit the freedom of determining the working conditions in individual negotiations as to a certain extent the conditions have been predetermined and the negotiations are held within this frame. But, on the other hand pre-set framework for negotiations also ensure that the conditions for doing similar work cannot vary significantly and only depend on persons’ negotiation skills. Thus, it may help to equalise the salaries within positions. All in all, there are no comprehensive measures to specifically tackle gender wage gap in financial services and insurance sector in Estonia.

Minimum salaries in the human health sector are set by the sectoral collective agreement negotiated between trade unions and Estonian Hospital Association. Sometimes other associations or unions also participate in negotiations and sign the agreement (e.g. the last sectoral collective agreement was also signed by the Union of Estonian Emergency Medical Services, Eesti Kiirabi Liit). In addition, sometimes Estonian Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa, EHIF) and the Ministry of Social Affairs also participate in the negotiations as the possibilities of raising the salaries of health care workers depend of the EHIF budget which is in turn interwined with state budget. Also, the trade unions have pointed out that in addition to collective agreed wage levels, individual negotiations often take place in case of doctors, but not in case of nurses or caretakers. No specific measures for narrowing the gender wage gap have not implemented in the sector.

In the comparative report, three main conclusion were made:

  • sector- specific initiatives, in addition to the general instruments which may (or may not have been implemented) in all countries are necessary to reduce the gender pay gap;
  • initiatives in the financial and insurance sector should focus on the topic of intransparent flexible payment and bonus schemes;
  • it is of utter importance to have strong ties and cooperation with social partners (such as syndicates), governmental bodies and gender equality bodies.

See also

Social partners and gender equality in Europe short summary (in Estonian)

European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)