EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Addressing the gender pay gap: Government and social partner actions – Romania

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  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Equality,
  • Pay and income,
  • Working conditions,
  • Published on: 26 April 2010



About
Country:
Romania
Author:
Luminita Chivu
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

According to data provided by the National Statistic Institute, in October 2008, the average gross monthly wage earnings of women stood at 92.2% of male counterpart earnings, as against only 76% in 1996 and 80% in 1998. In companies staffed below 50, the gap is wider (87.5% in October 2008). In Romania, the concept of equal opportunities for men and women is promoted by specialised institutions, through multi-annual strategies and plans of action. The social partners have been concerned in the past years with creating the framework for equal opportunities, which is why their recent agenda includes talks on new stipulations to this effect in the collective agreements, provisions that surpass the current legal requirements aimed at discouraging discrimination and ensuring equal treatment of both men and women.

1. The gender pay gap: national data

1.1. Please provide the reference details (see fact-sheet below), including a brief summary, of the main studies and research on the size and the determinants of the gender pay gap in your country published in the period 1999-2009.

From the information within our reach, no dedicated studies focused precisely on gender pay gap and the factors accounting for it have been conducted in Romania.

Data on pay differentials between the two genders can be found in various national studies and surveys, of which the following are worth mentioning:

  • 'Distribution of wage earners by wage brackets based on October earnings', a study published by the National Statistic Institute (Institutul Naţional de Statistică, INS);
  • 'Salary disparities and their causes', a study conducted every four years by the INS.
National studies on the gender pay gap

National studies on the gender pay gap

Fact-sheet no. 1

Title

'Distribution of wage earners by wage brackets based on October earnings'

Authors

Coordinator: Silvia Pisică, INS

Year of publication

annual

Bibliographic references

N. a.

Link to electronic copy of the report

N. a.

Coverage (nation-wide, sectors, occupations, regions, etc: please specify in detail)

The inquiry covers all employees of entities with a staff of at least ten persons, and operating in the Romanian national economy.

Time span (e.g. 1995-2003)

This inquiry is conducted every year, and contains comparative data for the time span 1996-2008.

Data-set (official, ad-hoc survey or study, etc: please specify in detail)

Official, annual survey, developed by INS.

Type of analyses performed on the data-set (methods, e.g. Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition)

It shows the salaries earned by men and women as rough, unprocessed information.

Main results. Unadjusted gender pay gap (W/M%*): please indicate both levels and trends

In October 2008, the gender pay gap expressed as the unadjusted ratio between the average monthly gross salary earned by women and the same earned by men was 92.2%, as against 84.3% in October 2006, 80.0% in 1998, and 76% in 1996.

Main results. Adjusted gender pay gap (W/M%*): please indicate both levels and trends

N. a. The inquiry does not supply adjusted data on gender pay gap.

Main results. Please list the individual and/or workplace variables taken into consideration in the adjusted gender pay gap (e.g. education, age, seniority, working hours, occupation, region, sector, firm size, etc.)

The average monthly gross salary is made by men and women is differentiated by main sectors of activity in the national economy, company size, company ownership and incorporation types, for total employees, for blue collars, and other classes of wage earners.

Main results. Which ‘institutional’ or policy variables (qualitative or quantitative) have been taken into account in the study?

Is there evidence (i.e. in multi-national studies incorporating your country, or when observing a national switch in policies such as, for instance, the introduction of sectoral minimum wages) that certain institutional factors or policies have tended to affect (narrow) the gender pay gap?

N. a.

Main results. The determinants of the gender pay gap: please provide a brief summary

In October 2008, for example, the lowest level of the average monthly gross salary earned by women vs. men was 72.0% in the industrial sector, respectively 74.7% in the manufacturing industry, and 75.3% in financial brokering and insurance.

Women have higher pay than men in: administrative and administrative-related services (where the ratio was 123.8%), construction (116.5%), highly qualified professional, scientific and technical occupations (103.6%), transport and warehousing (100.5%).

The ratio between the average gross pay earned by women and the one earned by men is lower in companies of less than 50 employees (87.5%), compared to companies with a staff of 250 and over (89.5%), and to companies of 50 to 249 workers (90.9%).

In October 2008, the average gross pay of women stood at 72.4% of those earned by men in companies wholly owned by foreign shareholders, at 88.4% in companies wholly owned by Romanian private capital, at 88.9% in fully state-owned entities, and at 98.5% in joint capital ventures (state and private). The ratio of same was 103.3% in public services corporations, and 85.5% in state-owned business corporations. By occupational categories, the ratio is very diverse: compared to the national economy average of 92.2% in October 2008, the same was 96.6% for members of the legislative bodies, the executive, top and high-rank public administration positions, and for the higher echelons in economic, social and political agencies; it was 88.6% in the category of experts providing high-standard intellectual and scientific services; 89.9% among persons with a technical training, highly skilled and similar workers; 99.7% for farm workers and skilled workers in agriculture, forestry, and fishing; and 91.5% among labourers.

Main results. Policy recommendations: please provide a brief summary

N. a.

  • Female pay as a percentage of male pay.
National studies on the gender pay gap

National studies on the gender pay gap

Fact-sheet no. 2

Title

'Salary disparities and their causes'

Authors

Coordinator: Silvia Pisică, INS

Year of publication

Every four years. Latest editions: 2004 and 2008

Bibliographic references

Study into the structure of wage earnings

Link to electronic copy of the report

N. a.

Coverage (nation-wide, sectors, occupations, regions, etc: please specify in detail)

Every four years, INS conducts a study on salary earnings in the month of October of the reference year.

Covers all employees in entities of at least 10 employees operating in the national economy.

Time span (e.g. 1995-2003)

Every four years. The most recent was published in 2008, containing 2006 data and the previous was published in 2004, containing 2002 data.

Data-set (official, ad-hoc survey or study, etc: please specify in detail)

Official, every four year, survey, developed by INS.

Type of analyses performed on the data-set (methods, e.g. Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition)

The inquiry calculates only the ratio, expressed in percentage points, between the net and gross pay, as annual, monthly and hourly average rates obtained by women, classified by various features of the workers and their work places.

Main results. Unadjusted gender pay gap (W/M%*): please indicate both levels and trends

According to this inquiry, the ratio between the average monthly gross pay of women, compared to the male equivalent, moved up from 84.3% in 2002 to 92.7% in 2006; the net earnings during the same period moved up from 85.2% to 93.0%.

The ratio between women’s and men’s hourly gross average rate and rose from 84.7% in 2002 to 93.4% in 2006; the net rates rose from 85.8% to 93.5%.

The inquiry also mirrors the evolution of the ratio between women’s and men’s annual gross pay: from 80.8% in 2002 to 93.5% in 2006.

Main results. Adjusted gender pay gap (W/M%*): please indicate both levels and trends

N. a.

Main results. Please list the individual and/or workplace variables taken into consideration in the adjusted gender pay gap (e.g. education, age, seniority, working hours, occupation, region, sector, firm size, etc.)

The data are clustered by various criteria: demographic and socioeconomic features (gender and age groups), educational level, sector, and occupational category, length of service, length and type of working schedule, and company size and ownership.

Main results. Which ‘institutional’ or policy variables (qualitative or quantitative) have been taken into account in the study?

Is there evidence (i.e. in multi-national studies incorporating your country, or when observing a national switch in policies such as, for instance, the introduction of sectoral minimum wages) that certain institutional factors or policies have tended to affect (narrow) the gender pay gap?

N. a.

Main results. The determinants of the gender pay gap: please provide a brief summary

In brief, in October 2006, the average net hourly rates for women aged 15 to 24 stood at 98.8% of those earned by men within the same age bracket, at 93.5% for the age group 25 to 34, and at 102.0% for persons aged 55-64.

Women earned 93.6% of men’s net hourly average rate, for full time employment, and 106.4% for part-time jobs.

The ratio between women’s and men’s net hourly wage rates in October 2006 was 90.3% for primary course graduates, 84.2% for holders of a bachelor’s degree, 88.3% for holders of a master’s degree, and 89.6% for post-academic graduates.

Women’s net hourly average pay were 91.3% of men’s equivalent pay for a length of service of less than one year, 88.0% for a work record of 1 to 5 years, 96.3% for a record of 6 to 9 years, 93.4% for a length of service of 20 to 29 years, and 100.5% for a length of service of 30 to 39 years.

Similar information is given with regard to the monthly gross average rates of men’s and women’s pay.

Main results. Policy recommendations: please provide a brief summary

N. a.

* Female pay as a percentage of male pay.

1.2. Are there any studies published in the 1999-2009 period, possibly using qualitative methods, which investigate the social processes which contribute to determining the gender pay gap through selection, occupational segregation, discrimination, and the like? Is there any research on the development of pay gaps during the life course? Do pay gaps emerge at the beginning of the individual careers of women or do they become significant at later stages of professional development? Because of different gendered career paths or because pay gaps tend to increase as the professional career advances (i.e. higher gaps at higher organisation positions)?

Information that explains the reasons underlying pay gaps between men and women can be found in the INS publication titled 'Women and men: partnership for work and life', which appears every two years, the 2008 issue being the most recent.

According to this study, 'in general, for similar working conditions, women receive the same salaries as men.The discrepancies between earnings of men and women in the various branches of activities stem from the differences in the level of skills and the place they held in hierarchy at their work place.

The ratio between men’s and women’s pay by branches of economic activities fluctuates mainly due to the share of women holding managerial positions or higher educational degrees. In essence, the study concludes that the variances are caused by a more reduced access of women to managerial positions, but notes that, once such positions are taken, women get the same pay as men holding similar positions.

Similarly, the preamble of the project of 'National Strategy regarding Equal Opportunities between Women and Men for the period 2010 – 2012' highlights that: '… the labour market still displays a certain degree of gender segregation by professions; for example some professions are dominated by women (such as health, education, public administration, etc.), while others are largely served by men (heavy-duty industry, army, etc.). This professional segregation between men and women leads to pay differentials between one gender and the other, due to the fact that, in the strongly 'feminine' sectors, pay is, generally speaking, lower than in the preponderantly masculine sectors.'

1.3. Are there any studies in your country on how gender differentials of pay have been affected by the current economic crisis?

No information available.

2. Government initiatives to address the gender pay gap

2.1. In light of the current economic crisis, has the national government taken any steps to assess and monitor the impact of the current economic downturn on gender pay inequalities? If yes, please briefly illustrate them, including the results of such assessment. Has the government started any initiatives to prevent or address the possible widening of the gender pay gap because of the economic downturn?

Currently under debate (November 2009) is the draft of the 'National Strategy regarding Equal Opportunities between Women and Men for the period 2010 – 2012', prepared at the initiative of the National Agency for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men (Agenţia Naţională pentru Egalitatea de Şanse între Femei şi Bărbaţi, ANES), with the assistance of a working group formed of representatives of central public institutions and agencies, social partners, and non-governmental organisations.

Starting from the assumption that the current economic crisis may have adverse effects on the equality of opportunities between men and women on the labour market, the new strategy aims to sustain the equal treatment of the two genders in labour matters through measures that include the reduction of pay gaps.

For this purpose, ANES intends to call several national conferences and bring together the social partners, government and business representatives, to create the framework for a dialogue with decision makers in this area, in order to identify the policies capable to narrow the pay gaps between male and female workers.

2.2. Please illustrate the major government initiatives to address the gender pay gap put in place since 2005. Since there is extensive legislation on gender equality, interventions are usually of an indirect nature.

Awareness-raising campaigns

An important step forward to this effect was made in April 2005, when ANES was established as a specialised arm of the central public administration, subordinated to the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection (Ministerul Muncii, Familiei şi Protecţiei Sociale, MMFPS).

The main task of this agency is to introduce the principle of equal opportunities and treatment between women and men in all national policies and programmes.

For this purpose, the agency drew up the 'National Strategy for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men for the period 2006-2009' and a plan of action to transposes the strategy.

In 2008, for example, the agency included among the actions to transpose the strategy steps like:

  • awareness raising campaigns with the aid of the mass media, publicising the legal provisions regarding equal opportunities at work;
  • a campaign sustaining the integration into the labour market by women facing marginalisation;
  • a campaign promoting policies that reconcile family life and work;
  • a campaign sustaining the equal participation of men and women in decision making.

T he Labour Inspection Office (Inspecţia Muncii, IM) is the watch dog for the observance by employers of the measures aimed at insuring equality of chances, including equal pay for equal work, between men and women.

Initiatives by the government on equal pay and gender equality

In 2007, the new regulation was approved regarding the structure and operation of the National Commission for Equal Opportunities Between Women and Men (Comisia naţională în domeniul egalităţii de şanse, CONES), which is headed by the ANES President, and is formed of representatives of the ministries concerned, other specialised bodies of the central public administration, social partners representative at national level, as well as representatives of NGOs that have won recognition for their work against discrimination.

CONES also coordinates the activities of the 41 county committees for equal opportunities (Comisia judeţeană pentru egalitatea de şanse, COJES), whose task is to collect relevant information for the reports on the status of women and men in various types of work.

The National Agency for Employment (Agenţia Naţională pentru Ocuparea Forţei de Muncă, ANOFM), a tripartite body, is in charge of monitoring employers and satisfying that the principle of equal treatment operates in employment and social protection matters regarding the unemployed.

The National Council for Adult Vocational Training (Consiliul Naţional pentru Formarea Profesională a Adulţilor, CNFPA) was particularly vested with powers to see that the principle of equal treatment is never overlooked in any strategies or policies developed with regard to the vocational training of adults.

Interventions on parental leave

Under Government emergency ordinance no. 148/2005, regarding measures to child-rearing support to families, anyone of the parents is entitled to a child-raising maternity leave up to the age of 2, or, in the case of health-impaired children, up to the age of 3, and to a monthly child allowance.

If the recipient parent resumes work prior to the expiry of each of these periods, such parent will receive a monthly incentive.

Interventions on care services

Also under debate is the law project on day care and education services for children. When enacted, it will be a substantive backup for women who wish to resume or start work and have no other alternative.

According to this forthcoming law, the day services for children will be in the care of local communities, and may be set up as day schools, day-care centres, or home services. They may be established by the local authorities, private providers of social services, businesses, public services companies, and other interested entities.

2.3. Please illustrate the main initiatives by the government to address the gender pay gap since 2005 in the public sector. Here the government acts as the employer and can intervene more directly, even if often the rules on compensation leave less room for pay differentials.

No information available.

3. Social partner initiatives to address the gender pay gap

3.1. In light of the current economic crisis, have the social partners, whether unilaterally or jointly, taken any steps to assess and monitor the impact of the current economic downturn on gender pay inequalities? If yes, please briefly illustrate them, including the results of such assessment. Have the social partners started any initiatives to prevent or address the possible widening of the gender pay gap because of the economic downturn?

During the 'ESTHR project - an integrated package of actions to stimulate the role of women in the Romanian society', co-financed by the European Social Fund, the National Trade Union Bloc (Blocul Naţional Sindical, BNS), a national trade union confederation, launched, at the end of October 2009, in partnership with Consorzio ABN Impreza Sociale (Italy), the 'Report on the research into gender discrimination on the labour market'.

The purpose of the report was to detect the 'causes and characteristics of discrimination on the labour market of Romania', both at national and regional levels', in the attempt of providing a pool of information on gender and anti-discrimination policies for the labour market.

The initial stage of the research started with identifying the common citizen’s perception of the types of discrimination in 200 entities, companies, and public administration bodies for which purpose 100,786 workers and 241 managers were interviewed.

One of the conclusions of this research is that only 7% of the interviewed women consider themselves as having been discriminated at work for gender reasons; 37% of them stated that the employer has created the necessary conditions for them to raise their children or to reconcile work with family life.

Disrupting a career orbit for child rearing purposes is viewed as one of the major factors that affect a woman’s position and earnings during her active life until retirement.

Only 40.4% of the interviewed persons were of the opinion that, generally, the principle of equal pay for equal work operates. A quite important share of them, 19.2%, think that such surveys are pointless, while 34.3% of the respondents share the view that salaries are neither transparent nor equal for equal work.

Women think that they are discriminated through barriers to their training and career opportunities.

The final aim of the project is to serve as basis for the writing of a 'Guide to best practices in creating equal opportunities and deterring discrimination on the labour market'.

3.2. Please indicate whether the gender pay gap has figured prominently on the trade union agenda since 2005. Have the trade unions initiated in this period any specific initiatives to address the gender pay gap? Please illustrate the most important of such initiatives.

Gender pay gap issues have entered the current agenda of Romanian trade unions.

National trade unions confederations went into a partnership with CONES, COJES and ANES to promote awareness campaigns on equal opportunities and treatment between men and women, at national and local levels.

The trade unions also scrutinise the new legislative initiatives from the gender point of view.

In 2007, for example, when the private pension fund act was initiated, two of the five national trade union confederations, National Trade Union Confederation Cartel Alfa (Confederaţia Naţională Sindicală Cartel Alfa, Cartel Alfa) and the National Confederation of the Free Trade Unions from Romania Frăţia (Confederaţia Naţională a Sindicatelor Libere din România Frăţia, CNSLR Frăţia), together with the Partnership Centre for Equality (Centrul de Parteneriat pentru Egalitate, CPE), a non-governmental organisation, expressed their disagreement to the substance of the law, from the perspective of the principle of equal treatment of both men and women (RO0702079I).

Trade unions have their own Women’s Committees, which watch the developments on the labour market from the gender view point.

To quote an example, The Women’s Committee of the CNSLR Frăţia organised, in 2005 and 2006, several seminars for their union members on topics falling within the general theme of equal opportunities for men and women.

Some of the awareness campaigns initiated by the CNSRL Frăţia Women’s Committee were conducted in cooperation with the Women’s Committees of International Trade Union Confederation / International Confederation of Free Trade Union (ITUC/ICFTU) and European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

As part of the strategy for equal opportunities, the women’s committees of the BNS and CNSLR Frăţia have assumed the role to see that the concept of equality of treatment between gender be reflected in all collective agreements at national, sectoral, and company levels.

3.3. Please indicate whether the gender pay gap has figured prominently on the employer associations agenda since 2005. Have the main employer associations initiated in this period any specific initiatives to address the gender pay gap? Please illustrate the most important of such initiatives.

Similar to the national trade union confederations, the employer organisations representative at national level are involved in the actions taken by ANES, CONES and COJES.

Likewise, during the public debate on the new legislative initiatives, the employer organisations made their points with regard to various aspects of the concept of equal treatments between men and women.

The National Council for Private Small and Medium Enterprises from Romania (Consiliul Naţional al Întreprinderilor Private Mici şi Mijlocii din România, CNIPMMR) asked the Romanian Government, in 2008, to follow the European model example and provide a financial incentive for the women resuming work before their maternity leave or the 2 year child raising leave expires.

Such financial support could help them invest in vocational training, or refresher courses, thereby smoothing their access to the labour market.

3.4. Please indicate whether multi-employer collective bargaining has contributed to address the gender pay gap since 2005. Has multi-employer collective bargaining introduced specific clauses or instruments to address the gender pay gap? Please illustrate the most important of such clauses or instruments.

In general, multi-employer collective agreements transpose the current legal provisions on equal opportunities, without any additional clauses.

3.5. Please indicate whether single-employer collective bargaining and social dialogue practices at company level have contributed to address the gender pay gap since 2005. Has single-employer collective bargaining introduced specific clauses or instruments to address the gender pay gap at company level? Please illustrate the most important of such clauses or instruments.

As a rule, corporate collective agreements transpose the current legal provisions on equal treatment of men and women, without supplemental provisions.

3.6. Has the issue of the gender pay gap been particularly important in certain sectors? If yes, please indicate the sectors involved (up to three), the main reasons of such relevance and its most significant expressions and achievements (up to three for each sector - unilateral actions by employers or unions, joint initiatives, collective bargaining).

In October 2008, while the overall ratio between women’s and men’s gross average pay in the Romanian economy was 92.2% (female pay as a percentage of male pay), the widest gap between women’s and men’s earnings were in the manufacturing industry (74.7%), financial brokering and insurance (75.3%) and retail (79.6%).

In the manufacturing sector the difference is accounted for by the fact that many jobs involve higher exposure to physical risk, therefore they require male workforce, and are better paid.

In financial brokerage and insurance, the gap most likely derives from the lower number of women holding management positions.

4. Good practices

4.1. Since 2005, have there been any major initiatives to identify, collect and disseminate good practices on equal pay or more generally on gender equality in employment?

The Women’s Committee of the CNSLR Frăţia set up a scheme for the monitoring and assessment of the objectives of the new 'National plan of action for equal opportunities between women and men for the years 2006-2009', the aim of which is, inter alia, to identify the best practices in this field.

The committee is contemplating to award, in 2010, 'Ambassadors of Equality' certificates to the champions of such good practices.

In 2008, ANES obtained finance from the European Social Fund for Project No. 1524, 'Women and Men – same opportunities on the labour market' (2008-2010), conducted in partnership with the CPE.

One of the specific aims of the project is to 'disseminate best practices at interregional and trans-national levels with regard to the evaluation, implementation, and promotion of the principle of equal opportunities for women and men in local policies.'

There was also a funding from the ESF for Project No. 1427, coordinated by the University of Oradea (Universitatea din Oradea) (2007-2009) in partnership with ANES and six other educational establishments and foundations, under the title 'Entrepreneurship and equal opportunities. An interregional model of entrepreneurial school for women'.

The purpose of this project is to stimulate entrepreneurship among women to help them act as active business women, and to disseminate entrepreneurial best practices in order to encourage the sustainable development of communities in the west-border counties of Romania.

5. Commentary

5.1. Please provide your own assessment and comments on the initiatives to address the gender pay gap covered by this comparative study, including any further information that you consider important to illustrate the state-of-play of pay equity in your country.

The annual and other, regular, publications (two-, and four-yearly), put out by INS carry information on the gross and net average pay, by monthly and hourly rates, by gender, occupation, and economic sector.

Discrepancies between the wage earnings of men and women continue to exist and they are caused by the different shares of managerial positions the two gender hold, and by the preponderantly employment of men in jobs involving hard work and harsh working conditions; while in certain sectors, women are on average better paid than men.

In a broader sense, the government and its institutions, as well as social partners and non-governmental organisations are aware of equal treatment issues, and are active in tackling gender discrimination issues.

Luminita Chivu, Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy

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