The Council of Ministers will approve this Tuesday the two regulations on labor equality that agreed with the unions, CCOO and UGT, to avoid gender inequality in the labor market and that dedicate special attention to combating the wage gap. The Government gives six months to companies to adapt to the regulations and implement their salary records by gender, which is required of all companies regardless of their size, and which aim to combat pay inequality between men and women.
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The regulations will be approved each with a royal decree-law: one “on equal pay between women and men” and another “which regulates equality plans and their registration and modifies Royal Decree 713/2010, of 28 May, on registration and deposit of collective bargaining agreements and agreements “. Both were agreed with the majority trade union centrals after a long process of negotiation with the employers, who dropped the text at the last moment. There are issues that affect all companies and, in other cases, only those with more than 50 workers and that are obliged to progressively approve equality plans.
The salary records by sex that will be required of all companies, whatever their size, come into effect six months after the publication of the decree law in the Official State Gazette (BOE). The objective of the registries is “to make effective the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination between women and men in matters of remuneration”. To do this, “all companies must have a remuneration record for their entire workforce, including management personnel and senior officials.”
How should the salary register be?
Companies must establish in the remuneration register, broken down by sex, “the arithmetic mean and the median of what is actually received for each of these concepts in each professional group, professional category, level, position or any other applicable classification system.” In turn, “this information must be disaggregated according to the nature of the remuneration, including base salary, each of the supplements and each one of the extra-salary perceptions, specifying in a differentiated way each perception.”
Any person on the staff will have the right to access the information in the salary register, although with differences if the company has worker representation or not. If there is no legal representation, the worker will have the right to “the percentage differences that exist in the average remuneration of men and women.”
On the other hand, in companies that have legal representation of the workforce, “access to the registry will be provided to working people through the aforementioned representation, having the right to know its full content”. That is, to the averaged data of the different professional groups and categories. In addition, the legal representation of workers must be consulted, “at least ten days in advance”, prior to the preparation of the salary register.
The regulation of equal pay between men and women also develops the characteristics of the salary audits that are required of companies obliged to implement equality plans. The Government established this obligation for companies with more than 50 workers, but it is applied progressively. Since March of this 2020, all companies with more than 150 workers must have equality plans and face fines if they do not comply with this mandate. As of March 2021, the obligation extends to companies with between 100 and 150 employees; And finally, companies with 50 to 100 workers have a margin until March 2022.
Salary audits must have the information required from the records, but also the assessment of jobs and “an action plan for the correction of remuneration inequalities, with determination of objectives, specific actions, schedule and person or persons responsible for its implementation and monitoring “, among other matters detailed in the regulation.
In the case of audits, the salary record must include the justification that there is no gender discrimination “when the arithmetic mean or the median of the total salaries in the company of workers of one sex is higher than those of the other in at least 25% “. The employers must argue that this difference “responds to reasons not related to the sex of the workers.”
How should equality plans be
The other royal decree approved this Tuesday by the Council of Ministers details the fine print of how equality plans should be from now on. The regulations come into force three months after the publication of the decree in the BOE, although for equality plans already in force they will have to adapt to the legislation “within the period provided for its review and, in any case, within a maximum period twelve months from the entry into force of this royal decree, after a negotiation process “.
The regulation develops “equality plans, as well as their diagnosis, including the obligations of registration, deposit and access” of workers to their content. The equality plans, including the previous diagnoses (such as the salary audit), must be subject to negotiation with the legal representation of the workers, for which a “negotiating committee must be constituted in which the representation of the company and that of the workers “, which details the regulations.
The minimum content of the equality plans is also collected, which must start from a diagnosis to “identify and estimate the magnitude, through quantitative and qualitative indicators, of the inequalities, differences, disadvantages, difficulties and obstacles, existing or that may exist in the company to achieve effective equality between women and men “.
The diagnosis, which must include “all the positions and work centers of the company”, must contain at least data on:
a) Selection and hiring process.
b) Professional classification.
d) Professional promotion
e) Working conditions, including the salary audit between women and men in accordance with the provisions of Royal Decree XX / 2020, of October x, on equal pay between women and men.
f) Co-responsible exercise of the rights of personal, family and work life.
g) Female underrepresentation.
i) Prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment.
If the result of the diagnosis “reveals the underrepresentation of people of a certain sex in certain positions or hierarchical levels, the equality plans must include measures to correct it,” the rule establishes.
After the diagnosis, the rest of the phases of the equality plans must take place, which are defined as “an ordered set of measures” (…) “aimed at achieving equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in the company. men and to eliminate discrimination based on sex “.
The regulations then develop the structure that equality plans must comply with and their minimum content, which, among other matters, includes a report on the diagnosis of the company’s previous situation, the results of the remuneration audit, the definition of “qualitative objectives and quantitative measures of the equality plan “, the description of” specific measures, execution period and prioritization of the same “and the” monitoring, evaluation and periodic review system “, among others.
Among the highlights of the small print of the regulation, it is worth mentioning that “the period of validity or duration of the equality plans” may not exceed four years, as well as that “companies must have negotiated, approved and submitted the registration application of its equality plan within a maximum period of one year from the day following the date on which the term provided for starting the negotiation procedure “of the equality plan ends. All companies are obliged to register their equality plans, which will allow “public access” to their content, as is already the case with collective agreements.