New provisions to implement equal opportunities / treatment at work in Italy | Hogan Lovells


The Italian Parliament recently approved a bill (the “Equality Bill“) aimed to strengthen gender equality and combat discrimination in the workplace, by introducing relevant changes to Legislative Decree No. 198/2006 (known as”Equal Opportunities Code“).

Direct and indirect discrimination in the workplace

The equality bill widens the cases of direct and indirect discriminatory behavior by including any treatment or change in the organization and in the working time which puts an employee in a disadvantageous position or restricts his possibilities to participate in life. of the company or to progress in the life of a career because of their gender, their age, their personal or family needs and their pregnancy / maternity / paternity.

The biennial report on equal opportunities

The draft law on equality extends to companies with more than 50 employees (the old threshold was 100 employees) the obligation to draw up a biennial report (the “”Biennial report») On the differences in pay between men and women and the employment situation of male and female employees. Companies employing up to 50 people can write the biennial report on a voluntary basis.

The biennial report will contain information on gender pay differences and the employment situation of male and female employees taking into account, for example, new hires, layoffs, training and promotions. The biennial report is drafted electronically, on a template available on the website of the Ministry of Labor, and then submitted to the works councils.

Failure to establish the biennial report (if this failure continues for 12 months) is punishable by a one-year suspension of the interruption of contributions for the company. In the event that the biennial report is incomplete or false, a penalty of 1,000 to 5,000 euros will be applied.

The “Gender Equality Certificate” and contribution exemptions

From 2022, companies that write the Biennial Report, even voluntary, can apply for the “Gender Equality Certificate” – to be issued by authorities / associations yet to be identified – if they have achieved certain objectives aimed at ensuring equality between men and women. and female employees, in terms of salaries, employment opportunities, management of gender differences and maternity protection.

Employers who have obtained the gender equality certificate are entitled to:

  • exemption from the payment of social security contributions up to a maximum of 1% of the social contributions due (in no case exceeding EUR 50,000.00 per year);

  • a bonus score which will be taken into account by the competent authorities when assessing the possible co-financing (through State aid) of the investments made by the employer who submitted the project proposal.

Gender equality within the Board of Directors

Finally, the draft law on equality extended the obligation to have at least 2/5 of the members of the board of directors of unlisted public companies (“Società non quote controllate dalle Pubbliche Amministrazioni») Composed by the least represented genre. This obligation was already in force only for listed companies (Società quote in mercati regolamentati“).


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