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Two new regulations have been published detailing and enhancing companies’ obligations both on equal treatment for men and women and equal pay plans. They develop the regulations introduced in this area in March 2019 (Royal Decree Law 6/2019) (Legal Flash). As you will remember, on September 22, the new remote working regulations were revealed (Royal Decree Law 28/2020) (see post).

These regulatory developments can be taken for what they are — mandatory provisions — or as an opportunity to take a huge step forward in labor relations, using them as true levers to achieve companies’ strategic goals, in step not only with the current climate — clearly marked by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — but also with the goals that our governments — local, European and international (UN Goals) — have set for the coming years. 

From this second perspective, we can read these rules from a sustainability viewpoint. Countries, companies and individuals agree on the need for sustainability, with the aim of ensuring that future generations have the same or more (but not fewer) options than us in all areas: environmental, social and economic, among others. We are also convinced that that paradigm must ultimately be embedded in labor relations and human resource management.

Integrated, sustainable management of these recently regulated, and for now, isolated matters — such as remote working, the right to digital disconnection or equality regulations — requires taking a broader view of gender and, without pushing it aside, focusing on diversity, which is one of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda. We believe that, rather than dealing with these obligations autonomously and separately, they can be managed with a comprehensive, harmonized approach, as a tool to promote the true inclusion of groups of different ages, cultures, genders, sexual orientations or abilities and to achieve a true sense of belonging among the company’s employees.

In keeping with the regulations on equality plans, the integrated vision we suggest would signify a giant leap towards preparing diversity plans instead of equality plans merely for regulatory compliance. This would make it possible to envisage measures promoting the stated sustainability goals in labor relations.

Furthermore, and in relation to remote working, any collective bargaining agreement should, on the one hand, be aligned with the diversity plans and, on the other, integrate a gender perspective, promote the integration of people with different abilities and expressly tackle the problems arising from implementing remote working for people of different age groups, not forgetting the clear impact on reducing carbon footprints.

Ultimately, the huge number of new regulations on labor relations has generated a wide range of new obligations for companies. We believe it is an opportunity for companies to integrate the strategic goal of sustainability into all human resource management and labor relations, and also, clearly, into the way in which these “new” business obligations are taken on. At Cuatrecasas’ labor department, we are supporting our clients with this vision.

Authors: Albert Bach and Elisabet Calzada

This post is also available in: Español



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Asociada Senior del área de laboral. Elisabet se ha especializado en derecho laboral y, en particular, en cuestiones de flexibilidad interna, operaciones de cambio organizacional y modificaciones de condiciones de trabajo. Asimismo, es coautora en varios libros y monografías.



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