Companies with more than 50 employees: March 2022, deadline for drawing up an equality plan

Organisations with more than 50 employees must draw up an equality plan before 7 March 2022, according to Royal Decree Law 6/2019. The content of the plan must respond to the inequalities that may exist in the company in order to achieve effective equality between women and men. These inequalities must be identified in a prior diagnosis

All companies, regardless of the number of workers on their staff, are obliged to respect equal treatment and opportunities in the workplace and, to this end, they must adopt measures aimed at avoiding any type of discrimination between women and men in the workplace, as well as promoting working conditions that prevent sexual harassment and harassment based on sex and establish specific procedures for its prevention and for dealing with any complaints or claims that may be made by those who have been subjected to it.

Within this framework, Royal Decree-Law 6/2019, of 1 March, on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in employment and occupation included the obligation for companies with 50 or more employees to have an equality plan.

The document specified a timetable for organisations to adapt progressively:

  • March 2020: companies with more than 150 workers
  • March 2021: companies with more than 100 and up to 150 employees
  • March 2022: companies with 50 to 100 employees

Thus, in just over a month all organisations with more than 50 employees must have an equality plan. The main key points for an organisation to consider are as follows:

  • An equality plan is an ordered set of measures adopted to achieve equal treatment and equal opportunities between women and men in the company and to eliminate discrimination based on sex.
  • Equality plans must be negotiated with the legal representatives of the employees.
  • It is compulsory to carry out a diagnosis of the situation prior to drawing up an equality plan. The diagnosis must address, as a minimum, the following matters:
    • Selection and recruitment process
    • Professional classification
    • Training
    • Professional promotion
    • Working conditions
    • Co-responsible exercise of personal, family and working life rights
    • Under-representation of women
    • Remuneration
    • Prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment
  • The diagnoses must include a pay audit to check whether the company’s pay system, in a transversal and comprehensive manner, complies with the effective application of the principle of equality between women and men in terms of pay. In order to carry out the pay audit, organisations should, among other things, analyse the pay register and assess their jobs.
  • Equality plans must be registered in REGCON (Registry and Deposit of Collective Agreements). The whole process must be very rigorous and comply with the additional requirements set out in:
  • Royal Decree 901/2020, of 13 October, which regulates equality plans and their registration and amends Royal Decree 713/2010, of 28 May, on the registration and deposit of collective bargaining agreements and collective labour agreements.
  • Royal Decree 902/2020 of 13 October on equal pay for women and men.

The legislation considers it a serious offence not to have an equality plan in place, provided it is a mandatory requirement, and is punishable by a fine of between €626 and €6,250.

If the Labour Inspectorate or Labour Authority has already warned the company of its obligation to have the Plan in place, this amount could be up to €187,515.

Our Labour Consultancy and Management team remains at your disposal for further information or to answer any questions that may arise in relation to this article.