Equality law passed, but men earn 40pc more than women

2nd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

3 March 2006, MADRID — As Spain introduced a new sex equality law to reduce discrimination in the workplace, a report has found men earn 40 percent more than women.

3 March 2006

MADRID — As Spain introduced a new sex equality law to reduce discrimination in the workplace, a report has found men earn 40 percent more than women.

On average men earn EUR 22,100 a year, while women are paid EUR 15,700, according to the report by the National Institute of Statistics.

Every year, 380,000 women give up work for their family or personal reasons, while only 14,500 men do the same.

The difference in pay is linked to the varying types of salaries and working days men and women work.

Seventy-eight percent of women have part-time contracts, while 65 percent men have full-time contracts.   

The report comes as the government was about to approve a new law to reduce sex disrcrimination in the workplace.

In its drive towards gender equality, the bill approved Friday contains a workplace provision of up to two years of maternity leave, and eight days off for new fathers.

Also, any sort of discrimination against an employee for her pregnancy will be outlawed.

The bill also reverses the burden of proof in discrimination cases, so that it is up to the accused to show an acceptable basis for his discriminatory action, according to Work, Social Matters and Immigration Minister Jesus Caldera.

The future law will ban not only direct and indirect discrimination but also sexual harassment and denigrating sex-based comments, which, according to Caldera, will be "severely" penalized.

To boost women's role in the political decision-making process, the bill reforms the general electoral law so that in every election political parties are obliged to present lists of candidates in which neither sex has a representation of less than 40 percent nor more than 60 percent.

Also guaranteed will be a balanced representation among high-ranking officials appointed to all government bureaucracies.

The administration wants to achieve the same parity within four years on private-sector boards of directors and, in order to achieve it, when it comes time to award government contracts and the bidding is equal, the companies to be favored will be those demonstrating the highest index of gender equality.

Caldera trusted that the gender-equality provisions which by law companies will have to include in their collective bargaining agreements will prove satisfactory, and warned that if not, the four years of incentives could be transformed into "more drastic" measures.

The legislation has companies set measures giving preference to women in hiring and promotions if females are not already proportionally represented at varying levels.

Measures in favor of family-job accomodation, such as the right to flexible hours, are also included.

The future law seeks to end the traditional discrimination against women, who in Spain earn 40 percent less than men, double the salary differential of the European Union as a whole.

At the same time, women's employment rates are some 10 percentage points below the European average, according to statistics provided by the 25-nation bloc.

In the political arena, women hold 36 percent of the 350 seats in the Congressional lower house, while in the Senate only 61 percent of its 258 members are women, and only one of them heads a regional government - Esperanza Aguirre in Madrid.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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