Gender equality plans in the workplace

According to the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men no. 10/2008, all companies and institutions operating 25 or more employees are required to establish a gender equality plan or to integrate gender equality perspectives into the employee policy. In article 18 of the Gender Equality Act states that such an equality plan must provide for the rights specified in articles 19-22. These articles focus on wage equality, job vacancies, vocational training, continuing education and lifelong learning, the coordination of family- and work life, and how employers and managers should prevent gender-based violence, gender-based harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace. The gender equality plans shall set out objectives and work on actions consistent with the following legislative provisions:

Article 19 Equal pay

Women and men working for the same employer shall be paid equal pay and shall enjoy the same terms for the same or equally valuable jobs.

Equal pay refers to wages being determined in the same way for women and men. The criteria on which wage determination is based shall not include gender discrimination.

Employees should always be able to explain their pay terms if they so choose.

An organization or a company where 25 or more employees normally work on an annual basis shall be certified following a certification-service-provider audit on the enterprise's or institution's equal pay scheme confirming that the equal pay scheme and its implementation meet the requirements of the ÍST 85 standard. The certification shall be renewed every three years. More information can be found here.

Article 20 Vacancies, vocational training, continuing education and lifelong learning

A job that are available for application should be open to both women and men.

Employers must take the necessary measures to ensure that women and men have the same opportunities for continuing education, lifelong learning and vocational training, and for attending courses held to increase their skills in work or in preparation for other work.

Article 21 Coordination of family and business

Employers should take the necessary measures to enable women and men to co-ordinate their duties and responsibilities with family members. These measures shall include aims to increase flexibility in the organization of work and working hours so that both the family circumstances of the employees and the needs of the business sector are taken into account, including that employees can easily return to work after maternity / paternity leave or leave from work due to force majeure and urgency family.

Article 22 Gender-based violence, gender-based harassment and sexual harassment

Employers and officers of organizations and non-governmental organizations should take specific measures to prevent staff, trainees and clients from being subjected to gender-based violence, gender-based harassment or sexual harassment at work, organization, social work or schools.

 

Gender equality plans ensure active gender equality in the labor market

The Gender Equality Plan is primarily intended to examine and reassess situations in each workplace and eliminate the obstacles that can be faced by both women and men. Well-informed staff is a prerequisite for ensuring that gender equality work is active in companies and institutions.

It is a matter of interest to the labor market that employees are enthusiastic and happy, and that the knowledge and experience of all is best enjoyed. Human capital investment not only improves the working environment, but also boosts competitiveness.

Companies and institutions in which 25 employees or more are employed must establish gender equality plans or integrate gender equality perspectives into their human resources policy. A number of important labor market provisions can be found in III. and IV. Sections of the Gender Equality Act:

• Employers and trade unions must work systematically to equalize the status of the sexes in the labor market.

• Entrepreneurs shall work specifically to equalize the status of the genders within their company or institution and promote the fact that jobs are not classified in special female and male jobs.

• Women and men who work for the same employer must be paid equal pay and must enjoy the same terms for the same or equally valuable jobs.

• Vacant jobs should be open to both women and men.

• Employers must ensure that women and men have the same opportunities for continuing education, vocational training and for attending courses.

• Employers should take the necessary measures to enable women and men to co-ordinate their work responsibilities and responsibilities with family members.

• Employers should ensure that staff, trainees and clients are prevented from suffering gender-based violence, gender-based or sexual harassment.

 

Projects and actions in the gender equality plans

The work of creating a situation where equality between women and men prevails is no different from other project work. It requires preparation, goal setting, decision making, and not least the desire to follow those decisions.

It is important that projects are well defined at the outset and well presented to employees, both while working on the plan and when it has been activated.

An action plan must accompany the equality plan, which should include ways to achieve the goals set. The action plan needs to indicate who is responsible for the work and how to follow the action.