EQUALITY, NON-DISCRIMINATION AND WORK-LIFE BALANCE IN
Sarah De Groof and Miet Vanhegen
Doctoral researcher and researcher at KU Leuven, Institute for Labour Law
In the last quarter of 2015, the employment rate in Belgium was equal to 61,8%: 58,3%
for women and 65,2% for men. The unemployment rate, however, is higher among men:
8,1% of women who were searching for a job did not have one, versus 9.3% of men.
Based on figures for 2014, 24,1% of the total employed work force worked part time in
Belgium (compared to 20,4% in the EU-28): 41,4% of the female versus 9,1% of the male
employed workforce (compared to 32,8% and 9,9% in the EU-28).
Women have on
average 3 hours less per week for rest and leisure compared to man.
Women taking care
of children are less likely to work then women without children. For man, the reverse is
true: they are more likely to work if there are children.
Parental leave is mostly taken by
women, although women are catching up: in 2002 only 9% of all employees taking
parental leave were man compared to 28% in 2012. Men especially use this parental leave
to reduce their working time by 1/5th.
Women more often work in the services sector.
Globally, the gender pay gap in Belgium tends to decrease. According to the latest reports
on the gender pay gap, women earn approximately 9% less per hour than men. At the end
of the ’90, this number was still 19%. Therefore, Belgium does better than the European
average of 16%. However, this only entails the hour based pay gap. When the pay gap is
calculated on an annual basis and thus the effect of part time employment –which is
typically overrepresented by women– is taken into account, the pay gap is much bigger
(22%) and does not decrease, on the contrary, it remained high over the last few years. It
is important to emphasis both numbers, since the uneven distribution in working time is
not gender neutral. The fact that women are more likely to work part time, makes a big
part of the inequality on the labour market.