What is an equality plan?
If the number of staff in the service of the employer is regularly 30 or more, the employer is to draw up an equality plan at least once every two years which pays attention particularly to wages and other employment relationship conditions, and which implements equality-promoting measures on this basis. (Section 6 a)
The gender equality plan is to be drawn up in cooperation with the shop steward, elected representative, occupational safety delegate and other representatives appointed by the employees, and these people must have sufficient opportunity to participate in and influence the planning process. This means that the employee representatives must be guaranteed real opportunities to participate in plan preparations and have an influence on the content of the plan in the different stages of its development. The employer must give the employee representatives sufficient information for understanding the task in hand. The employee representatives should also be given the opportunity to use a sufficient amount of working time for participating in drawing up the plan.
The Equality Act specifies minimum requirements on the content of equality plans. Equality plans must include:
- an assessment of the gender equality situation in the workplace, including details of the employment of women and men in different jobs and a pay survey presenting the classifications of jobs performed by women and men, the pay for those jobs and the differences in pay;
- necessary measures planned for introduction or implementation with the purpose of promoting gender equality and achieving equality in pay; and
- a review of the extent to which measures previously included in it have been implemented and of the results achieved.
The employees are to be informed about the equality plan.
The new section 6 c has been introduced to the Equality Act, according to which employers are obliged to prevent in a purposeful and planned manner all discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. The obligation must be taken into account in the formulation of equality plans and in decision-making on equality promotion measures.
The equality plan may be incorporated as part of the personnel plan, training plan, or labour protection plan of action, or it may be drawn up together with the non-discrimination plan.
The employer is responsible for making sure that the equality plan meets the demands in the Equality Act.