When Royal Decree 6/2019 of 1 March comes into force, it brings a series of modifications in relation to equal opportunities at work, stipulating that:
- Businesses with 50 or more employees must devise and implement an Equality Plan, which is compulsory. That equality plan must be drawn up after assessing the equality situation in the business, including working conditions, which must include a salary audit for men and women, the co-responsible exercise of conciliation rights and under-representation of women. All of this is negotiated with the workers’ representatives. A transition period is put in place to allow businesses to comply with this requirement, ranging from 1 to 3 years depending on the number of employees present.
- A register of equality plans will be drawn up, attached to the Dirección General de Trabajo (Directorate General for Labour) and the Autoridades Laborales de las Comunidades Autónomas (Labour Authorities of the Autonomous Communities); it will be mandatory for businesses to register on it.
- All businesses must maintain a register of their employees’ salaries, broken down by gender and distributed into professional groups/categories/posts of equal value, and the staff representatives must have access to these registers. In addition, businesses with fewer than 50 employees must, on the register, provide non-gender-related reasons for this salary gap.
- It is made obligatory to provide equal remuneration (or remuneration of equal value) in cases of nullity due to wage discrimination. In addition, the mechanisms are put in place to determine what “work of equal value” is, defining the factors which need to be assessed.
- The law now includes distance working amongst the alternatives to adapt the duration and distribution of the working day in order to exercise the right to a balance between work life and family life.
- The act nullifies termination of an employment contract due to pregnancy during the trial period, stating that this protection comes into force at the beginning of the pregnancy.
- Failure to comply with these equality requirements is described as a serious offence.
- The act allows a period of 16 weeks of leave for the biological mother and the other parent, which must include a continuous first 6 weeks of full-time leave, with specific rules for when both parents work at the same business.
- The period of protection of the employment contract in cases of suspension of the contract for the birth of a child is extended from 9 to 12 months.
The aforementioned Royal Decree reinforces the protection of equality, and requires greater care to be exercised in such situations. The Labour Department at UHY Fay & Co offers a specialist advice service to help you apply this legislation with the best possible legal protection. We also have a specific team devoted to Equality Plans to ensure they comply with the new obligations.