02 JUNE 2017

Iceland has passed a law requiring all companies and state institutions operating in the country to receive certification proving they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality. Organisations with more than 250 employees have a year from 1st January 2018 to comply with the legislation.

Fawcett Society Chief Executive, Sam Smethers, says:

““The steps that Iceland has taken to close their gender pay gap are hugely positive. The Fawcett Society has long called for businesses to conduct equal pay audits in the UK.

“At the moment, we have a new rule that any employer with over 250 employees needs to publish their gender pay data by April 2018. For many employers, this will be the first time they’ll be looking at their gender pay gap, and considering what they need to do to address it.

“But to make this new scheme work, whoever is in Government after the election must introduce financial penalties for businesses who don’t publish, and a requirement for them to put in place a meaningful action plan to close the gap.”

The law assesses individuals’ pay for the same job, and also requires companies to assess the experience and skills that the position requires with the aim of ensuring equal pay for work of the same value. Companies that fail to comply will face fines escalating per day.

Iceland is implementing the law as part of its target to eradicate the country’s gender gap by 2022, which would make it the first country in the world to achieve this. This aim has widespread support from Icelanders: a recent poll found that the new law was supported by 60 per cent of the public.


Fawcett's campaigning led to new gender pay gap reporting legislation, which requires organisations with over 250 employees to publish data on their gender pay gaps, including bonuses, by April 2018.