Spanish Cabinet cracks down on gender discrimination in the workplace

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A new decree has been passed that aims to reduce the pay gap and promote greater equality

The Spanish Cabinet of the Socialist Party government (PSOE) has approved a legislative decree that aims to fight against gender discrimination in the workplace.

The decree, passed on Friday, includes the progressive equalization of paternity leave with maternity leave, which will grant new fathers up to 16 weeks of paternity leave by 2021.

It also demands that Spanish businesses complete a gender audit with the “average salary values, salary supplements and non-wage benefits of their staff, separated by sex” that can be accessed by worker representatives and union members. The goal of the registry is to highlight whether there is female under representation or a gender wage gap.

To improve representation, a greater number of companies must implement gender equality plans under the decree. At present, companies with 250 or more employees must have a plan, but this will be extended over the next three years. In the first year, the plan must be adopted by companies with 150 or more employees, in the second year by companies with 100 or more employees and in the third year by those with 50 or more. This plan must address issues like the selection and hiring process, work conditions and preventing sexual harassment.

Pay gap in Spain

Men and women who perform similar tasks in the workplace do not earn the same in Spain. Women’s hourly earnings are 12.7% lower than men’s, according to a 2017 study that is based on statistically adjusted EU data from 2014.

The gap exists across variables such as age, education, years of service, occupation, type of contract, length of working day, activity and company size. According to the decree, the pay gap ”has not been reduced in the past years.”

The decree adds that “public equality policies must remove obstacles that block women from accessing and developing in science, research and technology sectors.”