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New provisions introduced in Italy to fight the gender pay gap

Written by
Toffoletto de Luca Tamajo, working in employment law since 1925.
Italy has introduced new measures to tackle the gender pay gap, including a ‘pink sticker’ certification scheme for employers whose policies improve equality of opportunity for women and men in the organisation.

On 18 November 2021, Law 162/2021 was published, introducing some important amendments to the Italian Equal Opportunity Code (Legislative Decree 198/2006).

The main changes are described below.

Indirect discrimination widened

The categories of potential victims of both direct and indirect discriminatory behaviour has increased. Following the changes, the notion of ‘indirect discrimination’ now expressly also includes (apparently neutral) conduct that impacts on working time; company organisation; and access to career progression mechanisms.

Gender status reporting duty expanded

The law has significantly changed a specific requirement: the obligation for companies to draw up a report on the respective situations of male and female personnel in the organisation. This obligation was already included in the Equal Opportunity Code but to date, only affected public and private employers with more than 100 employees. Now, organisations employing more than 50 employees are required to complete, every two years, a report that provides information on the number of male and female employees, the number of men and women hired over the period, differences in pay treatment, level, role, among other elements.

However, the wording of the new provision is not completely clear in some elements: it will be useful to see how the implementing ministerial decrees clarify the list of information to be included in the report. Provision of false information or failure to provide information can lead to both suspension of social contributions benefits and administrative penalties.

Gender equality certificate: the ‘pink sticker’

Another new provision relates to the establishment, from 1 January 2022, of a certification system for gender equality: the ‘bollino rosa’, meaning pink sticker. The bollino rosa certifies policies and measures adopted by employers to reduce the gap between men and women in relation to opportunities for growth in the organisation, equal pay, management of gender differences and maternity protection. Employers who obtain this certificate will be granted reductions on social security contributions.

Board gender balance duty in public sector bodies

The Law also extends the duty to appoint directors on the basis of criteria that ensure gender balance to organisations controlled by public bodies.