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equal pay for equal work

Iceland becomes first country to make equal pay mandatory for all employers

On International Women's Day on Wednesday, Iceland announced a new law that will require public and private companies to pay employees equally "regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or nationality," The Associated Press reported. AP noted Iceland seems to be the first country to ever mandate equal pay for even private firms, though it pointed out other countries and U.S. states have "equal-salary certificate policies."

To ensure companies are obeying the mandate, the Icelandic government will require companies with 25 or more employees on staff to get certification proving compliance. The legislation is expected to gain approval from lawmakers, despite some criticism that it's "a burden to put on companies." The Icelandic government is aiming to enact the law by 2020.

Icelandic Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said Wednesday that "the time is right to do something radical about this issue." "Equal rights are human rights. We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace," Viglundsson said.

Already, Iceland ranks first in the world for gender equality, per the World Economic Forum's measurement, but the new policy is intended to help the Nordic country reach its goal of putting an end to the pay gap by 2022.