New Legislative Proposal for Gender Equality
The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection has proposed a draft order which aims at ensuring the application of equal treatment of men and women.
In Romania, the policy on equal opportunity and equal treatment between women and men was first legislated in 2002 and, since then, several steps towards a complex legal background in this area have been taken.
To address certain gaps in the Romanian legislation, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection submitted to public debate until the 15th of May a draft Order on the approval of the methodological guide for standardizing the action plan on equal opportunities and treatment between women and men in public or private entities.
The methodological guide is foreseen to apply to both public and private entities, its purpose is to provide information, working tools and procedures for the implementation of the Action Plan on equal opportunities and treatment between women and men. This act is structured in a way that comprehends not only all general notions, definitions, and basic principles on gender mainstreaming, which have already been included in specific legislation, but also clear-cut directions on how gender equality should be ensured.
Starting from the general obligation that companies must comply with, referring to the need to adopt action plans on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities between women and men, the intended methodological guide sets the minimum intervention areas that should be foreseen by such plans, respectively:
- access to job opportunities
- classification of occupations
- promotion and training
- working time to promote work-life balance and private or family time and
- issues related to the prevention of sexual harassment and harassment based on gender.
In addition, a few active measures from the perspective of achieving equal treatment between women and men are provided by the methodologies, amongst which assuring an internal procedure which encourages gender equality promotion, including for occupying management positions within private companies, fair terms for the retirement of women and men or equal treatment in health and safety at work.
In favor of taking measures to improve gender balance in companies, the methodologies also emphasize practical manners according to which the experts in equal opportunities or the persons appointed with responsibilities in the field of equal opportunities within each company should fulfill their powers and duties. Some of these specific mechanisms imply communication and collaboration with other specialists from the specialized departments of the entity in which it operates, collection and analysis of focused data and information from the company, based on which reports or forecasts regarding the application of these principles could be elaborated.
To ensure transparency of measures that should meet the objectives or commitments of companies, the methodologies also describe five compulsory phases of each action plan. Thus, designing tailor-made equality policies should follow a process steaming from initiative and commitment which determine a strict diagnosis of the company in this respect, and which continue with the step of drafting equality policies and their implementation. Nonetheless, each plan should foresee constant monitoring and evaluation of the measures.
The current proposal opts for the increased effectiveness of fixed objectives, being considered another effort to promote gender equality, which should encourage companies to take real steps to achieve balanced gender policies, ultimately resulting in economic and wider societal benefits.