Addressing gender pay inequity remains a key objective for governments in 2019. France and Spain have recently introduced new legislation enforcing gender pay reporting requirements. Employers will need to ensure they have taken appropriate steps, such as conducting effective gender pay audits and implementing corrective measures, to avoid facing financial penalties for non-compliance.

For more information on how these regional developments will impact employers, see below.

France

Gender pay gap reporting is now mandatory for employers in France.

The Law on Professional Future aimed to enforce the well-established equal pay principle on September 5, 2018, by mandating that employers 'must adopt the goal of eliminating the pay gap.' To achieve this, companies in France are now required to calculate and release details of their gender pay gap, with companies with more than 1,001 employees required to publish their results on March 1, 2019. Although initial results have been surprisingly positive, only half of the requisite companies published their results on time.

The gender pay reporting requirements will apply to companies with 251 - 1,000 employees from September 1, 2019 and from March 1, 2020 for companies with 50 - 250 employees. Companies will also be required to implement corrective measures to address any gaps and failure to do so could result in financial penalties.

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Spain

On March 7, new legislation (Royal Decree- Law 6/2019) was passed, on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities for women and men in employment and occupation. Key measures were introduced relating to equality plans, equal pay and ensuring balance between working and family life, applicable to both public and private sectors.

Gender pay reporting is at the center of the new legislation, and companies are now obliged to keep a wage register by professional category and gender, that should be available for employee representatives to review. In addition, for employers with more than 50 employees, companies will be obliged to provide justification when the average pay for employees of one gender is at least 25% or above that of the other.

There are also new penalties for non-compliance with obligations related to equality plans and other equality measures, ranging from EUR 626 to EUR 6,250.

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