In recent months, a number of regulations have introduced new developments in the area of equality in the workplace in Spain. From the obligation to adopt measures to guarantee equal working conditions to the acknowledgement of sick leave for pregnant women from the first day of the 39th week of pregnancy. We take a look at them on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Women’s Day is celebrated in 2023 with new legislative developments in all areas of society and, in particular, in the area of labor relations, aimed at achieving full and effective equality in working conditions and in an attempt to eradicate all forms of discrimination based on gender in the workplace.

Among the latest legislative developments in this area is Law 15/2022, of July 12, 2002, on the comprehensive reform for equal treatment and non-discrimination. The law establishes two major obligations for companies in the area of equality in labor relations:

  • To adopt the appropriate measures to guarantee the existence of equal working conditions for women and men in all areas of labor relations (working hours, remuneration, opportunity, promotion, etc.).
  • To implement sufficient methods and instruments to detect and prevent discriminatory situations and ensure their termination, as the case may be.

The Law also expressly states that if a discriminatory situation is detected, it must be declared null and void and will entail the right to the corresponding compensation, adding that the situation prior to the discriminatory incident must be restored whenever possible. Liability for the payment of such compensation will not only correspond the person causing the discrimination, but also to the company if it occurs within the company’s scope of organization or management and, in addition, the obligations provided for in the law relating to the detection, prevention and termination of discriminatory situations have not been met.

Another legislative innovation in the area of equality in the workplace is Organic Law 10/2022 of September 6, 2022 on the comprehensive guarantee of sexual freedom, known as the “only yes is yes” law, which also regulates measures for the workplace.

This Law establishes the company’s obligation to implement specific procedures to prevent and channel complaints or claims that may be made by victims of a breach of sexual freedom and moral integrity at work, with special emphasis on sexual harassment and harassment based on gender, even when committed in a digital environment, which is normally structured through protocols on sexual harassment and/or harassment based on gender. In addition, the Law expressly provides for the duty to include sexual violence as an occupational hazard in the risk assessments of jobs held by women and to train and inform them accordingly.

Equally worthy of mention in this area is Organic Law 1/2023, of February 28, 2023 which amends Organic Law 2/2010, of March 3, 2010 on sexual and reproductive health and the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, which recognizes the right to a special situation of sick leave (IT) for common contingencies: (i) in the case of women with secondary incapacitating menstruation; (ii) voluntary or involuntary interruption of pregnancy while the worker is receiving health care from the Public Health Service and is unable to work, and (iii) in the case of female workers, from the first day of the 39th week of pregnancy.


During the first of these sick leave situations, the subsidy will be paid by the Social Security from the first day of sick leave and, in the other two situations, by the Social Security from the day after the first day of sick leave, with the employer being responsible for payment of the full salary corresponding to the first day of sick leave.


These measures will come into force three months after their publication in the Official State Gazette, in other words, on June 1, 2023.

Finally, we must highlight Employment Law 3/2023, of February 28, 2023, by virtue of which, in an exceptional manner and until the unemployment rate of women is equivalent to the total unemployment rate, the structuring of specific working and employment conditions for women is allowed, in order to guarantee real and effective equality in the access and consolidation of female employment, provided such measures are justified objectively and reasonably by the existence of a legitimate reason and are appropriate and necessary to benefit equal opportunity and the consolidation of female employment, without them being considered as discriminatory.

It is obvious that the area of labor relations has become one of the cornerstones of the fight against gender discrimination in our legal system.

The objective of achieving a society free of gender discrimination, in which female workers have the same opportunities as men, necessarily requires the commitment of all social stakeholders, including companies and workers, to direct their efforts to ensure that working conditions are always objective and equal and ensure equal treatment and opportunity for all workers.