Closing the gender pay gap in French cleaning sector

20th of May 2015
Closing the gender pay gap in French cleaning sector

Men still earn more than women in the French cleaning sector, reports ECJ correspondent Christian Bouzols. A new agreement has been signed to address the issue.

At the end of 2014, the French cleaning federation signed an agreement with the trade unions to increase the minimum wages in the sector during 2015. This agreement contains clauses to reduce the gender wage disparities that still exist among cleaners.

The Fédération des Entreprises de Propreté (FEP) - the contract cleaning association - has therefore signed with the three main unions – CFDT, CGT and FO – an amendment to an existing collective agreement regarding the minimum wage, to be implemented throughout the cleaning sector during 2015. Four separate negotiating sessions were necessary for both sides to agree to the changes, which will also apply to the French overseas departments.

In keeping with previous collective agreements, this new arrangement for the cleaning sector acknowledges that there are significant wage differences between men and women, even though “these disparities are to some extent explained by the increased feminisation of non-skilled jobs and by the high proportion of women who work part-time”.

The parties however recall that the cleaning sector signed an agreement on equal pay in 2012. This situation, which is quite frequent in France, doesn’t only affect the cleaning sector, but other branches of industry as well, where wage differences can reach 30 per cent.

The signatories call on cleaning companies to “correct the observed wage differences between men and women” and to take action on all the factors that play a role in determining wage levels, including recruitment policies, training opportunities and equal access to career progression.

They stressed the necessity to monitor more closely the early careers of women in order to enable them to progress more rapidly. Restating earlier resolutions in that respect, the FEP and the unions called on employers to increase the share of women holding both management and operational jobs in the cleaning sector.

In terms of wages, this agreement for 2015 updates the earlier scale that had been agreed in July 2013. The increases to be applied in 2015 range from one to 1.1 per cent. The minimum hourly wage is increased from 9.75 to 9.86 euros for the first level of the scale applicable to operational workers. The next three levels in that scale are brought up to 9.30, 9.95 and 10 euros an hour respectively. The next five levels range from 10.08 to 17.24 euros an hour.

As regards the increases agreed in the scale applicable to management workers, where wages are measured on a monthly basis, they have been raised to 2,582.19 euros for level one workers and to 3,046.06 euros for level two employees.

A clause in the agreement also provides for a new meeting of the social partners should the official minimum wage (the SMIC) surpass the agreed value of the minimum hourly wage for cleaners.


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