the latest business news from around the globe
US SALARY HISTORY BAN
Congratulations, New York City workers. You’ll never have to reveal your salary history in a job interview again. Passed earlier this year, groundbreaking legislation bans employers from asking candidates about their previous pay packets. The law was designed to combat wage discrimination (in the US, women are paid, on average, 20 per cent less than their male counterparts – a gap that further widens when comparing the wages of Hispanic and black women to white men). “Being underpaid once should not condemn one to a lifetime of inequality,” said Letitia James, a public advocate who helped pioneer the New York City Council’s legislation. “We will never close the wage gap unless we continue to enact proactive policies that promote economic justice and equity.” With a similar law set to roll out in Massachusetts mid-next year, asking for salary history could soon be a thing of the past.
ICELAND IKEA ASSEMBLES APARTMENTS FOR STAFF
With Iceland’s capital Reykjavik on the pointy end of a house price spike, IKEA is offering a (true to form) affordable solution by building a residential block with 36 apartments to rent to its Icelandic employees. On announcing the project, IKEA Iceland CEO, Þórarinn AEvarsson, indicated that senior staff will be first in line to tenant the apartments – the smallest of which comes fully furnished for around 100,000 Króna (about US$894) a month – that will be ready to occupy from summer of next year. “That’s much cheaper than what a lot of people are paying for a dump here and there around town,” said Þórarinn, adding that financial and emotional security keeps employees productive and content. Any apartments that aren’t rented to IKEA team members will be offered to students, and possibly staff at the neighbouring Costco.
ITALY PROPOSED PAID MENSTRUAL LEAVE
Italian women who experience painful periods could soon be offered paid monthly ‘menstrual leave’ of up to three days. Presented by four female members of parliament in April of last year, the bill is currently being considered by Italy’s labour commission and, should it pass, it will be the first of its kind in a western country (companies in Japan and Indonesia already have similar ‘period policies’). Experts have pointed to the emotional benefits a law like this would bring for females suffering severe menstrual symptoms (in order to access the paid leave, they’ll need to present a doctor’s diagnosis of dysmenorrhea). However, some fear it might make women less employable, as companies may hesitate to hire them.
INDIA NEW LAW SCHOOL FOR PROSTITUTION VICTIMS
The School for Justice, an educational institution teaching law to women who were victims of child prostitution, recently opened in India. The school was born of a collaboration between ad agency J Walter Thompson Amsterdam, India’s chapter of anti-sex trafficking organisation, Free a Girl Movement, and one of the top law schools in the country – the name of which hasn’t been revealed, to protect the students. When Free a Girl Movement approached JWT to raise awareness about child prostitution, the agency decided to “go beyond the brief ” and set up an entire school to help women fight the same issues they suffered from. (In 2015 there were 1.2 million children forced into prostitution in India and only 55 convicted cases.) The inaugural cohort of 19 women, aged between 19 and 26, will graduate with law degrees specialising in commercial sexual exploitation cases.