Stop making excuses
Patron Hubertus Heil on the Universal Fair Pay Check.
Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil has assumed patronage of the Universal Fair Pay Check Awards in Germany. In a welcoming address to the 2021 awards premiere, the father of two encourages companies to stand up for fair pay, to see equality as a competitive advantage - and to make their own activities transparent.
The Federal Minister of Labor, Hubertus Heil, complimented Henrike von Platen and her team in his welcoming speech at the premiere of the very first Universal Fair Pay Check Awards for not resigning themselves to malpractices but wanting to make concrete changes. But even more, he would like not to have to talk about the self-evident fact that women and men should be paid the same for equal and equivalent jobs. And finds clear words: "The wage gap is a disgrace for our economy. It must finally come to an end."
As a father of two elementary school children, he also wishes his son and daughter to grow up in a fair and open working environment in which gender does not play a role, either in career choice or in pay or promotion. He added that the federal government has now found more than 300 partners - including the FPI - for the initiative Klischeefrei, which is working to do exactly that.
"Unworthy and economically unwise"
Heil believes that Germany still has to catch up when it comes to equality and fair pay, especially in comparison to Iceland. Paying women less is not only undignified but also economically unwise. Germany urgently needs skilled workers, said the Federal Minister, who, on the occasion of the 1st Universal Fair Pay Check Awards, firstly called for more women to be recruited for the labor market, in all professions. Secondly, he said, women's performance must be recognized not only in praise speeches but also on the payslip, for example through more collective bargaining agreements. And thirdly, women should not be disadvantaged in the world of work, neither in theory nor in practice.
In short, there is still room for improvement. Better childcare, right to return from part-time to full-time work, the Pay Transparency Act - these are all good and correct steps in the right direction. He said he very much welcomed the second Executive Positions Act to see more women in management positions. When something changes at the top and encrusted structures are broken up, a jolt goes through the entire company and the entire administration. Often, there would then be a change in work culture and steps toward fair pay and treatment.
Not an imposition, but a real competitive advantage
Equality, he said, thrives on good examples and role models - from individuals as well as entire companies like the award-winning Fair Pay Pioneers, who made it clear: "Equality is not an imposition, but a real competitive advantage." They had all voluntarily examined their salary structures to eliminate discrimination, not only against women but also against people with disabilities, with different skin colors or sexual identities. Often, there is no perfidious intention behind the unequal treatment, but ignorance or simply an unwillingness to deal with the issue. Politicians are called upon to create the framework conditions for more equality. But awareness of this cannot be imposed from above. Every company, no matter how small, has a moral duty and a social responsibility in this regard.
Stop making excuses
His final plea: "Dear companies, talk about what you do. And invite others to imitate you. Say, in the words of social politician Regine Hildebrandt: Do not tell me that it doesn't work! Stop making excuses."
The welcoming address by Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil at the 1st Universal Fair Pay Check Awards ceremony on March 17, 2021, can be found in full length starting at minute 1:27:22 on the FPI YouTube channel (in German).
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