Law on gender equality (hereinafter: the „Law“), which entered into force on June 1st, 2021, has still not been actively applied in practice. The reason for that lies in the fact that the competent Ministry for Human and Minority Rights has not yet passed bylaws that would regulate in more detail the obligations of companies introduced by this Law.
However, the Law explicitly prescribes obligations for companies with more than 50 employees, which is reflected in the implementation of annual plans and work programs, which, in addition to the elements prescribed by law, now must contain also a part related to achieving and improving gender equality. Therefore, the intention of the legislator is to oblige employers to adopt measures in their business that would affect the promotion of gender equality, and within the mentioned plan or program to include an assessment of the situation regarding the position of women and men with employers.
As the Law stipulates, a balanced gender representation exists when the representation of one gender is between 40-50% in relation to the other gender, and a significantly unbalanced gender representation exists when the representation of one gender is lower than 40% in relation to the other gender.
Employers are also obliged to inform the competent Ministry for Human and Minority Rights about the adoption of the plan or program within 15 days from the day of adoption, as well as to submit a statement with the notification related to achieving and promoting gender equality. In addition, companies are obliged to submit a report to the Ministry on the implementation of the annual plan or program.
Although the Law leaves room for many doubts, the legislator has foreseen a fine for companies in the range of 50,000.00 dinars to 2,000,000.00 dinars, in case of non-compliance with the obligations provided by the Law. One of the reasons that the legislator recognizes as a valid reason for punishing employers is if the employer does not provide an employee, regardless of gender and family status, equal opportunities for additional training and additional education.
The fact is that the legislator recognized the problems in practice and tried to frame and regulate them through the new Law. The competent Ministry is expected to adopt more detailed guidelines that will facilitate the implementation of this Law in practice. However, even in the absence of such bylaws, the Law is in force and envisages obligations for employers with over 50 employees and employees, so this is an opportunity for employers to harmonize their business with the new Law and adopt mandatory internal acts. There is a clear tendency of the legislator to include acts under the Law on Gender Equality in the set of internal acts that the employer is obliged to have in accordance with the Labor Law, the Law on Safety and Health at Work, the Law on Archives, and thus attach importance to this topic, which is undoubtedly very controversial in practice.
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