The majority of Real Decreto-Ley or Royal Decree-Law 6/2019, representing urgent measures for the guarantee of workplace gender equality, came into force in Spain on March 8. Its remaining provisions will be progressively implemented.
Its publication represents a new advance in legislative efforts aimed at eliminating the wage gap and promoting equal treatment and opportunities between men and women as a fundamental right of workers. This law builds on Organic Law 3/2007, a pioneering law in Spain that was created with the purpose of eradicating direct and indirect workplace discrimination against women, adopted in 2007.
The new law seeks to give a legal framework to the new normative provisions that advance towards full equality and modify various precepts in terms of equality.
The following outlines the main measures in the law that require companies to modify policies and processes regarding compliance within organizations operating in Spain:
1. Modification of Organic Law 3/2007, of March 22
The requirement to write up equality plans is extended, with the following scope:
- The application of an equality plan will be mandatory for companies of 50 or more workers
- A Registry for Equality Plans of Companies is created, under the General Directorate of Labor and the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Social Security and labor authorities of the Autonomous Communities, in which all companies must register their equality plan. The deadlines for the approval of the Equality Plans are established according to the number of each company’s staff (see Chart 1). Note: companies with more than 250 employees are already governed by a separate law.
2. Modification of Royal Legislative Decree 2/2015, of October 23, approving the revised text of the Workers' Statute Law
From a terminology perspective, the Royal Decree Law has included important changes that reflect the equalization of concepts. In this sense, the main novelties are the disappearance of the concepts of maternity and paternity by birth, as well as the concept of female worker.
- Protection and invalidity situations. The following protected situations and cases of annulment of contract terminations are established:
- Interruption of the initial probation period at the request of the employer in a situation of gender violence
- Contract invalidation in cases of wage discrimination based on sex
- Greater wording is given to the conditions of invalidation in the termination of contracts for victims of gender violence
- Special protection is extended from nine to 12 months for the dismissal of workers in situations of contract suspension due to birth, adoption, or fostering of a child
- Salary. The concept of “work of equal value” is introduced, which is defined in reference to the nature of the functions or tasks encompassed in a role, to include the educational, professional, or training conditions, the factors strictly related to their performance, and the labor conditions in which these activities are carried out.
The employer is also obliged to keep a record of the average values of wages, salary, and salary supplements (e.g., bonuses) by gender and position level.
- In the same sense, when, in a company with at least 50 workers, the average salary of workers of one gender is higher than the other by 25% or more (taking the entire compensation package or the average of the paid salaries), the employer must include in the salary record a justification that this difference corresponds to reasons unrelated to gender
- Paid leaves. The two-day permit for “birth of a child” is eliminated. The breastfeeding permit is now called “breastfed infant care.”
- In the case of opting for the reduction of working hours for the care of the infant, the possibility opens up for parents of both genders to exercise this right, and its extension is possible up to 12 months, with a proportional reduction of the salary from nine months of the life of the infant. Likewise, the management of the company may limit the simultaneous exercise of this right if both parents are part of the same organization, always providing justification in writing. In addition, the reduction in working hours is extended for cases of premature children who need hospitalization after childbirth.
- Suspensions of contract. A transitory regime is established in the suspension of the contract by birth for a parent other than the biological mother (see Chart 2):
- Severance for dismissal. Regarding the calculation of severance for dismissal, the full-time salary will be considered for the cases of reduction of working hours for breastfed infant care, for legal guardianship, and for gender violence reasons.
3. Modification of Royal Legislative Decree 8/2015, of October 30, which approved the revised text of the General Law of Social Security
In line with the modifications included in the Statute of Workers and Basic Statute of Public Employees, the following new denominations are established for social security benefits of the new protected situations: birth and care of a minor (formerly “maternity”) and co-responsible exercise of breastfed infant care (formerly “paternity”). In order to be a beneficiary of this last benefit, the same requirements as those established for the benefit of birth and child care will be required.
Do you like our content? Join the GPMI community to get free education and articles straight to your inbox!
Auxadi provides international expansion services under a single IT platform as a one-stop-shop solution in accounting, tax compliance, and payroll. From its hubs in Chicago and Madrid – with more than 40 years of experience, 250 employees, 10 international offices, its International Desks, and its cloud platform – Auxadi helps more than 1,000 U.S. and European corporations expanding abroad. The International Payroll Department is headed by Kira Rubiano.