Panauti initiates measures to address gender wage gapThe long held practice has now been broken with the municipality introducing a local law to bring uniformity in wages for men and women from the start of the current fiscal year.
There was a tradition of paying a daily wage of Rs700 to men and Rs400 to women for the same task related to agriculture in Panauti Municipality until last fiscal year.
The long held practice has now been broken with the municipality introducing a local law to bring uniformity in wages for men and women from the start of the current fiscal year.
“Panauti is basically agricultural land and there was the tradition of providing different wages for men and women for the same job such as weeding potatoes, corn and other crops,” said Panauti Mayor Bhim Neupane. “We introduced a law barring such practice and keeping the minimum daily wage at Rs650.”
The municipality has also implemented the uniform wage structure in the projects to be carried out by consumer committees. “There was also difference in wages received by the men and women,” the mayor said.
While Panauti made efforts to bring uniformity in wages between men and women, labour activists say wage gap prevails in different parts of the country, particularly in agriculture and construction sectors. “Contractors pay different wages to men and women when they are deployed to build a house,” said Ramesh Badal, vice-president of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GFONT), a trade union body of the erstwhile CPN-UML. “Women are also paid less in various agricultural works as compared to men.”
The Labour Force Survey 2017-18, unveiled recently by the Central Bureau of Statistics, also revealed the huge wage gap between men and women.
The average monthly income of women is Rs5,834 less than that of men, the survey showed. Men earn Rs19,464 on an average, while women are being paid Rs13,630 regardless of their profession.
There is a wage gap in the post of manager, professionals, technicians and associate professionals, clerical support workers, service and sales workers, skilled farm workers, forestry and fishery workers, craft and related trade workers, plant and machine operators and assemblers and elementary occupations.
For example, the average monthly income of a male manager is Rs34,162 while it is Rs29,342 for a woman manager. Even in elementary jobs, the average monthly income of males is Rs15,194 while it is Rs10,580 for females.
Such gap in wages is seen despite the Supreme Court ordering the government on November 2, 2017 to ensure equal pay for the same work. The country’s top court issued its full verdict last week, according to court officials. The court states that the provision of the Labour Act-2017, which prohibits discrimination in wages for an equal value of work.
But it insisted that the government agencies must make efforts to implement the legal provision on equal pay.
According to Badal, wage gap is mainly a phenomenon of the informal sector. “In our recent study of 75 enterprises, we didn’t find a direct wage gap between men and women for the same work,” said Badal.
He, however, said there might be an indirect wage gap because men enjoy higher positions while women are employed in lower positions.
Despite the gap, the Department of Labour is yet to receive a single complaint about discrimination.
Udaya Kumar Gupta, director at the department, told the Post that complaints could be registered at labour offices under the department if there is discrimination in wage for the same work.