Drafting an equality plan (for a company) - where to start?

Drafting an equality plan (for a company) - where to start?
Published on: 23 February 2021

Table of contents

Royal Decree-Law 6/2019, of 1 March, established urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities between men and women in the workplace. Since its entry into force, all companies with 50 or more workers in their workplace are obliged to draw up a gender equality plan and apply its compliance. If you want to know in detail the regulations you have to follow to implement this plan in your company and avoid possible sanctions, read on.


Deadlines for the implementation of equality plans in companies.

t should be borne in mind that until Royal Decree-Law 6/2019, only companies with more than 250 employees were obliged to have a strategic equal opportunities plan. The entry into force of Royal Decree-Law 6/2019 establishes different deadlines for companies to implement such a plan, depending on the size of their workforce, as indicated below:

  • Companies with between 150 and 250 employees must have a plan in place within one year of Royal Decree 6/2019, i.e. by 7 March 2020.
  • Companies with more than 100 and up to 150 workers are obliged to draw up and implement a plan within two years, i.e. they have until 7 March 2021.
  • Companies with between 50 and 100 employees are obliged to draw up and implement a plan within three years, i.e. by 7 March 2022.

These deadlines are mandatory and in the event that a company fails to meet them, a serious penalty may be imposed for non-compliance.


What decisions can be imposed on companies for not implementing an equality plan?

Those companies that do not comply with the obligations regarding equality plans established by the Laws, the Workers' Statute and the Collective Agreements applicable in each sector, will receive the following sanctions:

  • A financial penalty of between 626 and 6,250 euros.
  • Automatic loss, from the date on which the infringement occurs, of any type of aid, bonus or benefit derived from employment programmes.
  • From the date of the offence, the company will be automatically excluded from access to employment programmes for a period of between six months and two years.

In the event of non-compliance with the provisions of the plan approved by the company, legal action may be taken against the company.


How are company equality plans drawn up?

The company equality plan should contain the measures taken by the company to reduce any kind of inequality or discrimination between men and women within the workforce. Its aim is to establish equal participation between men and women, to guarantee equal opportunities, to promote equal treatment and to eliminate gender discrimination and stereotypes.

In order to draw up the gender equality plan, a Negotiating Committee will be set up consisting of representatives of the workforce and the company. Efforts should be made to ensure that the Commission has an equal representation of men and women from each side. The Negotiating Committee will first draw up a prior diagnosis, which includes the company's situation with regard to equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in employment and occupation. The law expressly establishes that the previous diagnosis must contain the following:

  • Selection and recruitment process.
  • Professional classification.
  • Training.
  • Professional promotion.
  • Working conditions, including wage audit between women and men.
  • Co-responsible exercise of personal, family and working life rights.
  • Under-representation of women.
  • Remuneration. 
  • Prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment.

For its preparation, both the company's documents and statistics and the information obtained through surveys of the workforce and the heads of the company's departments will be taken into account. In addition to the above points, article 7 of RD 902/2020 establishes that the company must also provide a remuneration audit prior to the negotiation of the plan.

In this audit, the company must make a diagnosis of the remuneration situation in the workforce, as well as evaluate each job position and the promotion system. This audit should contain the tasks corresponding to each job position, as well as the possible differences in remuneration that may exist between men and women and the principles of action to be adopted to correct these inequalities.

In addition, the company will also have to keep a pay register, which will contain the pay corresponding to work groups that have a similar value within the workforce, even if they belong to different categories, with a breakdown of this data for each sex. This register shall include a justification when the arithmetic average of one sex is 25% higher than those of the other sex.

When all the above information has been obtained, the company plan shall be drawn up, which shall contain the following points:

  • Parties agreeing to the scheme.
  • Scope of application.
  • Report containing the prior diagnosis of the company's situation.
  • Results of the remuneration audit, as well as its validity and frequency.
  • Objectives of the plan.
  • Description of the desired measures, including their duration.
  • Identification of the means and resources to carry out the desired measures.
  • Timetable for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the plan.
  • System for monitoring the plan.
  • Composition of the body that will monitor and review the Plan.
  • Procedure for the possible modification of the plan. 

The draft shall be submitted to the Negotiating Committee, which shall be responsible for approving the plan. Once the plan has been approved, it must be registered with the body in charge of the Register of Collective Bargaining Agreements.

The duration of the equality plans will be as indicated in their content. Normally, they are valid for a period of two to three years. If the plan does not stipulate a time limit, it is valid for a maximum period of four years.

As you can see, the preparation of a strategic equal opportunities plan is mandatory for companies. At our law firm, ELIAS Y MUÑOZ ABOGADOS, we can advise you on how to draw up your company's plan and guarantee equal opportunities for your staff.

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