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Is gender pay reporting obligatory in Germany?

Written by
Kliemt.HR Lawyers, the first port of call in employment law for top-class and future-proof advice.
German employers have a direct obligation gender pay differences. This article elaborates.

Under the Pay Transparency Act, employers with over 500 employees must produce a management report in accordance with Sections 264 and 289 of the German Commercial Code on equality and equal pay. In it they must describe:

  • Measures taken by the company to promote equality and its effects (e. g. kindergartens, home office, promotion of women in management positions).
  • Measures to ensure equal pay (e. g. promotion of the remuneration regulations, number of information requests by employees).
  • If no measures have been taken, the organisation must explain the reason in the report (gender-disaggregated information on the average total number of employees and on the average number of full-time and part-time employees; starting with the second report, the changes compared with the first report must also be shown).

An organisation must submit an annual management report according to the Commercial Code if it fulfills at least two of the following requirements:

  • More than EUR 6,000,000 balance sheet sum.
  • More than EUR 12,000,000 sales within twelve months prior to reporting date.
  • Generally more than 50 employees. The employer should publish a report every three years (if it is not tariff-bound).

The report is published in the Federal Gazette. Employers should also regularly review their pay rules under the Pay Transparency Act, but this is not a legal obligation.

There is also a general right for individual employees to ask for information other comparable employees’ pay if the employer has more than 200 employees at the establishment (provided there are at least six employees who fit this description). The request can only be made every two years. The employer must provide the requested information in text form within three months of receipt of the request for information. If employers do not provide any information, the employee can file an action by stages (firstly to require the employer to disclose pay information and subsequently for the usual remuneration if the information reveals a disparity).

There are no civil or criminal penalties for breaches of the reporting rules. However, if an employee brings an equal pay claim, a court might take the lack of a report as indication that the employer has not complied with the equal pay principle to the employer’s detriment.