This year’s International Women’s Day in 2022 is commemorated after the entry in force of the obligation for all companies (unless they have fewer than 50 workers) to draw up and implement an equality plan.
The companies employing between 50 and 99 workers are already obliged to have an equality plan. For companies with larger headcounts, this obligation has already existed for a while: since 2020 for companies with 150 workers or more, since 2021 for companies with 100 workers or more, and, for companies with more than 250, since 2007.
When it comes to determining whether a company has the obligation to start the implementation process for an equality plan, the first step is to know how the headcount has to be calculated. Equality plans require a specific calculation method which is not the same as for other requirements such as the obligation to ensure that 2% of the headcount is allocated to and made up of employees with disabilities, or the number of statutory workers’ representatives, on the works council for example.
Alongside workers employed under an indefinite employment contract, this calculation also includes employees under:
- permanent contracts for intermittent work,
- fixed-term (temporary) employment contracts,
- manpower supply contracts (individuals hired by temporary employment agencies),
- part-time contracts (which count as one contract, in other words not by reference to the percentage of full working hours worked), and also
- individuals who did not have a contract with the company on that date, but had been under fixed-term contracts in the immediately preceding 6 months, although one more individual will only be added for every 100 days of work performed in aggregate.
This calculation has to be performed twice a year, as of June 30 and as of December 31. If, however, the company knows it has exceeded the threshold at any point in the year without needing to use those calculations, the obligation to start the implementation process for the equality plan will arise at that point (rather than wait until June 30 or until December 31).
On the timing requirements, the Royal Decree 901/2020 determines a 3 month time period for the negotiating committee to be formed, and then companies will have 1 year in which to negotiate, draw up and file the equality plan for registration.
Hence, the time limit by which companies learning in March 2022 that they exceed the 50-worker threshold have to draw up and implement an equality plan ends in June 2023.
If in March 2022 a company was below that 50-worker threshold in March 2022 but later exceeds it as of June 30 or December 31 in any year, it will have that same period, equal to 3 months plus 1 year running from the date concerned, in which to draw up and implement an equality plan.
And so, on the third anniversary of Royal Decree-Law 6/2019 and International Women’s Day 2022, calculations will have to start and excel sheets will have to be used to analyze whether companies with around 50 employees in their headcounts under either indefinite or temporary contracts have to set in motion the process for preparing and implementing an equality plan.
Garrigues Employment & Labor Law Department