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Six out of ten small businesses do not have an equality plan despite legal obligation

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Six out of ten businesses with employees that have been required by law to have an equality plan for almost two years have not yet implemented it. These businesses would now be failing to comply with the standard established by the previous Government and would face sanctions from the Labour Inspection, as well as other consequences at the level of bonuses in the workers’ contributions to Social Security.

This was stated by Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy general secretary of the General Union of Workers (UGT), who participated in the workshop organised by UGT Asturias on sexual and gender-based harassment protocols in the workplace. In the conference after the event, the union’s vice-secretary assured that 60% of the companies that should have equality plans do not have them.

Antoñanzas warned that these businesses “are breaking the law” and should get “to work.” Otherwise, they would face possible sanctions of up to 7,500 euro for failing to comply with equality regulations, among other consequences. In fact, the deputy secretary also pointed out that it is very important to provide the Labour Inspection with “the economic and human means necessary to address this issue.”

Businesses with more than 50 employees and other SMEs – regardless of the size of their staff – are required from 2022 to have an equality plan in their business, a set of measures that the company undertakes to guarantee equality among all workers.

At the beginning of the year, the inspectors already warned that they would focus this year on businesses, which, although required to have an equality plan, still do not have one. This is contemplated in the Strategic Plan of the Labour and Social Security Inspection 2021-2023, which establishes, among other issues, “intensifying the campaign on control of equality plans and measures, as well as pay discrimination, paying special attention to new obligations on this matter”.

At that time, the number of registered plans did not exceed 10,000, despite the fact that in Spain there are around 31,700 businesses with more than 50 workers, so two-thirds of the companies were failing to comply with the legislation. Now it seems that the figure has been reduced but 60% of businesses have not yet implemented this measure and are obliged to do so.

Having an equality plan is a matter of mandatory compliance for all companies with more than 50 workers since March 2022, when Royal Decree 901/2020, of October 13, approved by the previous Government, came into force, by which Equality plans and their registration are regulated.

However, this obligation can also affect many small businesses. For example, to those dedicated to an activity whose collective agreement requires it; to cooperative societies in which there are employed workers; or to those who have agreed with the Labour Inspection in exchange for avoiding a penalty.

Business equality plans are defined as “an ordered set of measures, adopted after carrying out a diagnosis of the situation, aimed at achieving equality of treatment and opportunities between women and men in the company and eliminating discrimination based on gender”.

This would involve developing specific action plans against harassment and prevention of any type of inequality in the workforce. In addition, they must be agreed with the legal representation of the workers.

Since March 2022, failure to comply with this obligation constitutes an infraction included in the Law on Infractions and Sanctions of the Social Order (LISOS). If the Labour Inspection understood that a business that is required to have one of these plans does not have it or has done so incorrectly, it could impose sanctions of up to 7,500 euro, at its maximum level.

However, the financial fine would not be the only consequence that a business may face for not having an equality plan while being obliged to do so.

Mainly, it involves the withdrawal of bonuses and reductions in the fees paid by their employees to the Treasury. As they stated, these businesses “must not include, in the registrations or variations of data, those data such as group identifiers or assumptions to which bonuses or quota reductions apply.”

Otherwise, if the business that does not have an equality plan despite being obliged to do so applies the bonuses and reductions in the same way, it must return “all the amounts not received, with the  corresponding surcharge and late payment interest , according to what is established in the collection regulations regarding Social Security,” explained the Treasury.

The post Six out of ten small businesses do not have an equality plan despite legal obligation appeared first on Spain Today – Breaking Spanish News, Sport, and Information.

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