Equality plans are mandatory in companies with 50 or more employees. This is provided for in RDL 901/2020, of 13 October, which regulates equality plans and their registration. In addition, Royal Decree 713/2010, of 28 May on the registration and deposit of collective labour agreements and contracts is amended.
The new text incorporates the regulatory development, which must be taken into account by the companies obliged to have an equality plan. It establishes the mechanisms for the diagnosis, negotiation and implementation of this plan. It must contain a set of measures aimed at reducing inequalities between men and women in companies.
From the moment they have 50 or more employees, they have a period of three months to set up an Equality Plan Negotiating Committee. This will be made up of representatives of the workers and the company. This Commission will carry out a prior diagnosis, taking into account the different milestones established by the regulations, in order to identify the extent to which equal treatment and opportunities are integrated. Based on this diagnosis, the Equality Plan will be negotiated within a maximum period of 1 year. It must contain at least the points set out in the regulations, which are detailed below and whose duration will be set by the parties, with a maximum duration of 4 years. The implementation and monitoring of the Plan must be carried out during this period, ensuring that it is complied with in the company.
Equality plans are mandatory in companies
Remind them that with the approval of RDL 6/2019, which modified Organic Law 3/2007, the number of companies obliged to draw up and implement an equality plan was increased. This was established for all those with 50 or more workers. Although a transitional period of adaptation was established, depending on the workforce, for the creation of the Equality Plan:
- More than 150 and up to 250 workers: March 2020
- More than 100 and up to 150 workers: March 2021
- Between 50 and 100 workers: March 2022
All of this is without prejudice to the fact that the collective agreement applicable to the company’s activity establishes and obliges the company to have an Equality Plan, prior to the dates established for this purpose, or for a lower threshold than that established by law.
Companies obliged to draw up and implement an Equality Plan, which do not have one, commit an infringement that may be qualified as serious or very serious, with penalties that may range from 626 euros to 187,515 euros.
At what point is a company considered to be obliged to negotiate an Equality Plan?
From the moment the threshold of 50 workers is reached, the company has 3 months to start the process of negotiating an Equality Plan.
Calculation of the workforce.
Companies must calculate their workforce at least twice a year:
- 30th of June
- and 31st of December
The total workforce will be taken into account, regardless of the work centres and type of contract, including discontinued fixed-term contracts and fixed-term contracts.
Part-time employees will be counted as one person, regardless of the number of working hours.
The number of persons shall be increased by the number of fixed-term contracts in force during the previous six months that have expired at the time of the calculation. In these cases, every 100 days worked will count as one more working person.
Once the established threshold is reached, the company is obliged to begin the process of negotiation and implementation of the Plan. This is regardless of the fact that at any time it may again fall below the aforementioned threshold. The plan will be in force for the period agreed by the parties, or a maximum of 4 years.
In the case of a group of companies, a single plan may be drawn up for all or part of the companies in the group. Justifying the convenience of having a single plan.
What is the role of the Negotiating Committee?
Once the threshold of 50 employees in the company, or the one that can establish the implementing agreement, is reached, there is a deadline for setting up the Negotiating Committee.
The Negotiating Committee will be composed of representatives of both parties. It is made up of employee representatives. If no such representation exists, it will be made up of representatives of the most representative trade unions and representatives of the company. With a maximum of 6 people on each side. And they will form part of the whole process of developing the equality plan, diagnosing and drawing up their reports, identifying priority measures, negotiating and implementing them in the company.
From this negotiating Committee, a Committee must emerge to follow up the implementation and development of the Plan in the company. This committee will ensure that what has been agreed by the parties is complied with during the period in which the plan is in force.
During the negotiation process, the members of the Negotiating Committee will have the right to access all necessary documentation. The company is obliged to provide them, with the sole purpose of being able to carry out the function related to the implementation of the equality plan in the company.
Minutes must be taken of all meetings and signed by both parties. The minutes must be signed by the parties, in order to record what was discussed throughout the negotiation process, which may not last more than one year.
What should the content of the Equality Plan’s Diagnosis Report be?
It must contain those points agreed upon by the Negotiating Committee, aimed at identifying and estimating the magnitude, through quantitative and qualitative indicators, of the inequalities, differences, disadvantages, difficulties and obstacles, existing or which may exist in the company to achieve effective equality between women and men.
Minimum content of the diagnosis
- Selection and recruitment process.
- Professional classification.
- Professional promotion.
- Working conditions, including gender pay audits
- Co-responsible exercise of personal, family and working life rights.
- Under-representation of women.
- Prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment
The diagnosis will be extended to all jobs and workplaces. Including the provision of distance and teleworking services, work organisation and different hierarchical levels, including all professional categories, broken down by sex, levels, posts, assessment, remuneration, etc.
If there is less representation of one sex at any level or position, corrective measures should be included in the Equality Plan, with the aim of eliminating occupational segregation, both horizontal and vertical.
What is the minimum content of equality plans?
As a result of the previous work carried out by the Commission and the negotiation process, the Equality Plan will emerge, whose minimum content must be included:
- Identification of the parties involved.
- Personal, territorial and temporal scope.
- Report of the diagnosis.
- Results of the remuneration audit, duration and periodicity.
- Definition of qualitative and quantitative objectives of the equality plan.
- Description of specific measures, execution time and prioritization of them, as well as design of indicators that allow determining the evolution of each measure.
- Identification of the means and resources, both material and human, necessary for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of each of the measures and objectives.
- Calendar for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the measures of the equality plan.
- System of monitoring, evaluation and periodic review.
- Composition and functioning of the commission or joint body in charge of the monitoring, evaluation and periodic review of the equality plans.
- Procedure for modification, including the procedure for solving possible discrepancies that may arise in the application, monitoring, evaluation or review, insofar as the legal or conventional regulations do not require their adaptation.
The period of validity or duration of the equality plans, which will be determined, where appropriate, by the negotiating parties, may not exceed four years.
How is the Equality Plan registered?
The equality plans (and their modifications) will be subject to compulsory registration in the public register. Whatever their origin or nature, compulsory or voluntary, and whether or not they have been adopted by agreement between the parties.
It must be registered in the Register of Collective Labour Agreements and Accords regulated by Royal Decree 713/2010, of 28 May, on the registration and deposit of agreements, collective labour agreements and equality plans. Or any other that may have been created for this purpose within the scope of the Autonomous Communities. In this way, the content of the Plan shall be disseminated in the corresponding Bulletin, shall be public and may be consulted by any person.
Implementation of the equality plan
Agreed, signed and entered in the corresponding register, the plan will be in force for the period agreed between the parties. This will be a maximum of 4 years.
Furthermore, the Negotiating Committee shall be responsible for promoting the first information and awareness actions for the staff.
From then on, the Monitoring Committee will be responsible for ensuring compliance with its implementation, the achievement of milestones agreed between the parties and the evaluation of the Plan. The latter on at least two occasions during the period of the Plan. An intermediate and a final one, without prejudice to any evaluations that may have been agreed between the parties.
Nevertheless, the plan must be reviewed:
- when it is not adapted to the legal requirements.
- in the event of changes in the company’s legal situation (mergers, splits, etc.).
- when sensitive incidents occur among workers.
- or when it is required by a court decision because of discrimination on the basis of sex.
This revision of the Plan will be subject to a new process of negotiation and agreement between the parties (after diagnosis and proposal of corrective measures).
If I have an Equality Plan in place, what should I do?
If your company has an Equality Plan in force, you must adapt it within the time limit for its review. And in any case within a maximum period of 12 months from the entry into force of Royal Decree 901/2020 (January 2021).
What if I have less than 50 employees? What are my obligations?
Initially you would not be obliged to implement an equality plan in the company. Unless your collective bargaining agreement applies to your activity, this is established. However, if the company voluntarily decides to do so, they can implement an equality plan by following the procedure established for this purpose. After negotiation and agreement with the legal representatives of the workers established for this purpose.
However, all companies, regardless of the number of workers on the staff, are obliged to respect equal treatment and opportunities in the workplace. To this end, they must adopt, after negotiation, measures aimed at avoiding any type of employment discrimination between women and men. This is how to promote working conditions that avoid sexual harassment and harassment on the grounds of sex by establishing specific procedures for its prevention. And, where appropriate, to provide a channel for complaints or claims that may be made by those who have been the object of it
If, as a company, you are obliged to draw up and implement an Equality Plan, do not hesitate to contact our expert consultants.
Labour Consulting and HR Management