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22.122021

The Law on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women in Employment is in force

Law of 5 November 2021 no. 162, published in the Official Gazette no. 275 of 18 November, has been in force since 3 December 2021. It contains provisions on equal opportunities between men and women in employment. 

The following are the changes introduced by the law under review.

Amendments to the Equal Opportunities Code

The new provision introduces important amendments to the “Equal Opportunities Code” (Legislative Decree no. 198/2006). These include a modification of art. 46, which requires companies with more than 100 employees to draw up a biannual report covering the treatment of men and women in the company. With the changes introduced by this law, the obligation to draw up the biannual report is extended to companies with more than 50 employees. For companies with up to 50 employees, the report submission is voluntary.

This biannual report must then be submitted electronically using the form made available on the Ministry of Labour’s portal. The regional councillor for equality must process the data and transmit the results to the National Labour Inspectorate regional offices, the national councillor for equality, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Institute of Statistics and the National Council for Economy and Labour.

The first report must be submitted by 30 June of the year following the year the law entered into force i.e. by 30 June 2022.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policies in agreement with the Delegated Minister for Equal Opportunities must issue a decree on the biennial report within 60 days from the Law issuance defining:

  • “the drafting guidelines of the report which must specify the number of female and male workers employed, the number of female workers who may be pregnant, number of female and male workers who may have been hired during the year, differences between the initial salaries of workers of both genders, contractual classification and function performed by each worker employed, and any other contractual and salary details;
  • the obligation to include information and data on selection processes at the recruitment stage, recruitment processes and the procedures used to access professional qualification and management training;
  • the report access methods by company employees and trade union representatives, in compliance with the protection of personal data, to benefit from legal protection.”

Failure to submit the biannual report will result in an administrative sanction ranging from €103 to €516, and if the failure extends beyond 12 months, the company’s contribution benefits will be suspended for 12 months.

If the biannual report is untruthful or incomplete, an administrative sanction between €1,000 and €5,000 shall be applied.

Gender equality certification

Law no. 162/2021 introduced the “Gender equality Certification” with effect from 1 January 2022. This certifies the policies and measures adopted by companies to reduce the gap between men and women “for company growth opportunities, equal pay for equal tasks, policies for managing gender differences and maternity protection.”

It will be up to the President of the Council of Ministers to issue Prime Ministerial Decrees to define:

  • the minimum parameters to achieve gender equality certification by companies regarding remuneration paid, career progression opportunities and work-life balance;
  • The methods for the acquisition and monitoring of data transmitted by employers;
  • The Trade Union Representatives (RSA) and the regional equality councillors’ involvement;
  • the gender equality certification publication methods.

For 2022, the possession of the gender equality certification guarantees private enterprises an exemption from the payment of social security contributions by the employer, up to € 50 million. The exemption will be determined at a rate not exceeding one per cent and up to € 50,000 annually for each company, recalculated and applied monthly, by decree of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, in agreement with the Minister of the Economy and Finance and the Minister for Equal Opportunities, to be adopted by 31 January 2022.

Private companies which, on 31 December of the year preceding the reference year, possess the certification, will be awarded a “bonus score” for the evaluation by the authorities, holding national and regional European funds, of project proposals to obtain State co-financing of investments.