Europe

In world first, Iceland to require firms to prove equal pay

FILE - This is a Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016  file photo of people looking at the Icelandic parliament the Althing in Reykjavik. Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality, the Nordic nation's government said on International Women's Day , Wednesday March 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

FILE - This is a Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 file photo of people looking at the Icelandic parliament the Althing in Reykjavik. Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality, the Nordic nation's government said on International Women's Day , Wednesday March 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)  (The Associated Press)

Iceland says it will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality.

The tiny Nordic nation's government says it will introduce an Equal Pay Standard requiring all employers with more than 25 staff to ensure they give equal pay for work of equal value.

Iceland wants to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022. Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said Wednesday — International Women's Day — that "the time is right to do something radical about this issue."

In October thousands of Icelandic women left work at 2:38 p.m. to protest the gender pay gap. Women's rights groups calculate that the pay gap means after that time each day, women are working for free.