FOGE

There are many ways a country can close its gender-pay gap: expanding child-care access, providing generous maternity leave, and raising the minimum wage, to name a few.

You can also have an app.

Switzerland’s is called Logib (“pay equality in companies” in German).

There's a short, really satisfying, language-barrier-neutral video showing how it works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=51&v=2lohc7wTxI0

Released in 2004 by the country’s Federal Office for Gender Equality (FOGE), Logib tests whether a firm is paying its female employees the same as male ones by examining detailed variables about employees, like education and training levels, professional experience, seniority, function and job profile.

Between the app’s launch and 2010, the most recent year for which OECD data is available, the country’s gender pay gap declined from 20 percent to 18.5 percent.

The app has been so successful that it’s now used in Germany and Luxembourg, and the European Union has just released its own version, called equal pacE.  And it’s been cited by Oregon’s civil rights commission as a possible tool that could be used for the state to reduce its gender-wage gap.

While companies are not obligated to use it, most now do, in part because the government will investigate you if your pay is not meeting federal standards.

Advertisement

As a result, the app is now downloaded approximately 5,000 times a year, according to Sabine Baumgartner, a FOGE representative.

Since 2006, FOGE has investigated 28 businesses on reports of unfair pay practices. The three that were found to have pay gaps exceeding the legal 5 percent threshold. They were suspended from obtaining government contracts for up to a year.

“In general, we note that Swiss firms have become more and more sensitive to the problem of equal pay,” Baumgartner said.

Advertisement

In an extreme case where a company fails to comply with government recommendations, it faces a ban on government contracts of up to five years, and a fine of up to $63,000 ($60,000 Swiss francs).

Of course, it’ll take more than a computer program for governments to address their territories’ wage gaps, but if you’re going to have one, this seems like a fine model.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.