Start of main content

Urgent measures to ensure equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in employment and occupation

| Publications | Employment Law and Social Security

Royal Decree-Law of 1st March on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities between women and men in employment and occupation

The Official State Gazette ("BOE") in its edition of 7th March 2019 published the Royal Decree-Law of 1st March on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities for women and men in employment and occupation. 

Given the importance and scope of the amendments to the Basic Labour Standards of our legal system, including new obligations that affect the day-to-day running of the Companies, the following is a succinct and brief analysis of the main amendments.

These are the main points:

A.- Modification of Organic Law 3/2007, of 22 March, for effective equality between men and women regarding Equality Schemes.

One of the main new features of this RD-Law is the reduction in the number of workers at company level who impose the obligation to draw up an Equality Scheme. In effect, the number of workers is reduced from 250 to 50 workers. It also establishes the obligation to carry out a prior diagnosis negotiated, where appropriate, with the Workers' Legal Representation, which will include at least the following matters:

a.- Selection and contracting processes;

b.- Classification and professional promotion;

c.- Training;

d.- Working conditions;

e.- Co-responsibility in the exercise of conciliation rights;

f.- Under-representation of women in the Company;

g.- Remuneration;

h.- Prevention of sexual harassment due to sex.

It is also planned to create a Register of Equality Plans for Companies under the General Directorate of the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security and the Labour Authorities of the Autonomous Communities. The deadline for compliance with the obligation to approve and implement an Equality Plan is established: 

(i).-For companies with more than 150 employees: 1 year. 

(ii).-For companies with between 100 and 150 employees: 2 years.

(iii).-For companies with between 50 and 100 employees: 3 years.

B.- Modification of the Revised Text of the Workers' Statute Law, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 2/2015, of 23 October ("ET")

I.- Concerning contracts for training programs and apprenticeships:

The situation of gender violence is included as a disruptive cause for the duration of both contracts.

II.- In relation to part-time workers:

Within the prohibition of discrimination against full-time workers provided for in Article 12(4)(d) of the ET, the prohibition of differences of treatment on grounds of gender is included.

III.- Concerning the professional classification system:

A correctional analysis of biases in the definition of professional groups is envisaged in order to ensure the absence of discrimination between men and women.

IV.- About equal pay based on sex:

One of the most significant novelties of this RD-Law consists in the obligation of the employer to guarantee equal remuneration between men and women who perform work of equal value in equivalence with the functions or tasks performed, the level of training and the conditions required for their performance.

In this regard, the company must draw up a Register of the average values of salaries, salary supplements and extra-salary payments, disaggregated by sex and professional group, category or jobs of equal value. Likewise, workers are empowered to access the above information through the Legal Representation of Workers.

V.- In relation to the exercise of rights of conciliation and working hours:

Independently of the permits included in article 37 of the ET, the right of workers to adapt the duration and distribution of the working day -both as regards working time and the form of its benefit- is regulated in order to make effective the rights to conciliate family and personal life, with the adaptations being proportionate to the personal needs of the worker and the organizational and productive needs of the company.

Thus, in order to give effect to the deserved right, the RD-Law appeals to collective bargaining or, failing that, to the agreement with the employer through the development of a negotiation process of a maximum duration of 30 days which may end with one of the following options: (i) Acceptance of the worker's proposal (ii) Offering of an alternative proposal (iii) Refusal with allusion to the objective reasons on which the decision is based.

VI.- Modification of nursing leave:

About the reduction of the working day for the care of the nursing child, this is configured as an individual right of workers who do not admit transfer to the other parent. Likewise, the duration of the leave is extended to 12 months for the nursing child if both parents exercise the right simultaneously, albeit with a proportional reduction in salary from the ninth month onwards.

VII.- Modification of paternity leave:

Another of the essential changes of the RD-Law refers to the granting of 16 weeks of suspension of the employment contract for the parent other than the biological mother in the event of the birth of a child, making the 6 weeks immediately following the birth obligatory, configuring itself as an individual right of the workers that prevents its transmission or cession.

With respect to the remaining 6 weeks, the possibility of cumulative or interrupted enjoyment, at the worker's choice, until the minor reaches 12 months of age is provided for. In identical terms, this right is regulated for cases of adoption, guardianship for the purposes of adoption and foster care.

However, the merited increase in parental leave will be subject to gradual application in accordance with the provisions of the RD-Law which incorporates a Thirteenth Transitional Provision to the Workers' Statute.

Based on this new wording, from the entry into force of the RD-Law, the parent will enjoy a suspension of his contract for a total of eight weeks, the first two to be enjoyed uninterruptedly and immediately after childbirth. Likewise, the biological mother will have the power to cede up to four additional weeks to the other parent, if they correspond to non-obligatory periods of enjoyment.

Regarding adoption leave, guardianship for the purpose of adoption or fostering, each parent shall have six weeks of compulsory and uninterrupted enjoyment from the administrative act constituting the adoption.

In this connection, and in addition to these six weeks of compulsory enjoyment, parents may enjoy a total of twelve voluntary weeks, which must also be uninterrupted and within twelve months of the administrative act referred to above.

Thus, each parent may individually enjoy a maximum of ten weeks out of the twelve weeks of voluntary enjoyment outlined, leaving the remaining weeks for the enjoyment of the other parent.

If both parents work for the same company, the eligibility criteria may be reasonably limited by the company.

Gradual increase in permits. - According to the Ninth Transitional Provision, the application of the permits of the parent other than the biological mother will be gradual, being configured in the manner described below: 

 (i).- During 2019:The duration of the leave shall be eight weeks, of which the initial two shall be taken without interruption from the time of confinement, adoption or fostering. 

(ii).- From 2020:Permits will be increased to 12 weeks, the first four of which will be mandatory immediately after birth, adoption or fostering.

(iii).- Finally, from 2021:Both parents will be placed on an equal footing in sixteen weeks, the first six of which must be enjoyed uninterruptedly after childbirth, foster care or, where appropriate, adoption.


C.- Amendments to the Law on infractions and fines approved by Royal Legislative Decree 5/2000, of 4th August.

Article 7.13 is amended by the addition of a new offence relating to the failure to fulfil obligations in respect of equality plans.

D.- Applicability of the measures.

The RD-Law will enter into force on the day following its publication, i.e. 8th March 2019.

The measures relating to the adaptation or reduction of the working day for childcare will be applicable in the cases that occur after its entry into force.

However, the new provisions on paternity leave will come into force from the month following publication in the Official State Gazette, i.e. 7th April 2019.

The full text of the Resolution can be found at this link


For more information, please contact with:

Alfredo Aspra

José Antonio Sanfulgencio


End of main content