Companies with more than 50 workers will have to prepare and register their Equality Plans before March 7, 2022
We are running out of time to comply with the obligation to develop an Equality Plan. To comply with the law different periods were established, and the last one is arriving in 2022, with a deadline of March 7: by then, all companies that have over 50 employees must have their Equality Plan implemented and registered at the REGCON (Registry of Collective Agreements).
To know when we must start drawing up our Equality Plan in order to meet the established deadline, it is important to know the complete process. The elaboration of an Equality Plan is a negotiation process that begins with the constitution of a Commission, made up of the Legal Representation of the Employees (LRE) and the representation of the company.
To prepare the Equality Plan, the first step is to carry out a diagnosis of the current situation of the company, and, if possible, an analysis of its most recent evolution, with the aim of knowing what are the good practices that can be promoted and communicated within and outside the organization, and what are the possible areas for improvement. In this diagnosis, the following matters must be covered: selection and hiring processes, professional classification, training, professional promotion, working conditions (including salary audit between men and women), co-responsible exercise of the rights of personal, family and employment, female underrepresentation, remuneration and the prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment.
Once an exhaustive diagnosis has been made, an Action Plan will be derived from its conclusions to be carried out within a maximum period of 4 years, which will cover the different areas in which imbalances have been detected. From its start-up, a monitoring and evaluation process must be initiated to assess the performance of the actions, and, if necessary, make the pertinent adjustments to achieve the objectives stipulated within the term. In short, an average process of preparing the Equality Plan will last an average of 3 months
However, as mentioned above, as it is a negotiation process, points of disagreement may be found along the way, for which time may be prolonged. Added to this are other difficulties that businesses usually encounter when starting to draw up an Equality Plan. For example, the difficult accessibility of the data, or the absence of job descriptions compatible with the development of the job evaluation system, which will be an essential part of the pay audit. It may also happen that the company does not have an LRE and has to convene the most representative unions in its sector, which may prolong the deadlines for drawing up the Equality Plan, due to the participation of agents external to the organization in the process.
All this can be easier if you have the help of an external expert. In his function, the expert will prepare the diagnosis of the situation with a guarantee of independence, and based on its findings, they will be able to guide decision-making based on his experience with other companies and his specialized knowledge. In addition, the business will be able to count on the certainty that, at the time of registration, all the necessary documentation will be prepared, and where appropriate, it will be able to help the company to carry out periodic monitoring with greater attention that will allow the objectives to be met successfully.
Therefore, we urge companies to comply with this legal obligation in due time, since, on the contrary, they could face economic fines from €60 to €187,515 or an automatic loss of aid, bonuses or benefits from the application of employment programs, among other sanctions. But, above all, they would lose the opportunity to use this tool, the Equality Plan, as a lever for change and a strategic roadmap that will have a direct positive impact on their HR management, their communication with stakeholders and their reputation.