Iceland Becomes First Country To Require Equal Pay

"The time is right to do something radical about this issue."

Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they're paying all their workers equally, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity or nationality.

The Icelandic government announced Wednesday that it would be introducing legislation to parliament this month requiring all employers with more than 25 employees to obtain certification showing they're giving equal pay for equal work.


While other countries, and the U.S. state of Minnesota, have equal-pay certificate policies, Iceland is thought to be the first to make it mandatory for both public and private firms, all with the goal of eradicating the gender pay gap by 2022.

"Equal rights are human rights," said Thorsteinn Viglundsson, Social Affairs and Equality Minister (above). "We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that."

"The time is right to do something radical about this issue."

Instagram/Sjöfn Tryggvadóttir

In October, thousands of Icelandic women left work at 2:38 pm to protest the pay gap, which currently sees women earning 14 to 18% less than their male peers. Activists had calculated that after that time each day, women are working for free.

Though Viglundsson recognized that the new policy could put a strain on some corporations, he remarked that it was worth it to ensure full equity for all workers.

"It is a burden to put on companies to have to comply with a law like this," he acknowledged. "But we put such burdens on companies all the time when it comes to auditing your annual accounts or turning in your tax report.

"You have to dare to take new steps, to be bold in the fight against injustice."

h/t: USA Today