On the occasion of this International Women's Day, we would like to highlight some legal rules applicable to Belgian companies to ensure gender equality in the employment relationship.

A general legal framework is defined by the Act of 10 May 2007 which prohibits any form of gender-based discrimination in the employment relationship. This prohibition applies to all aspects of the employment relationship from the recruitment process to potential dismissal, including the determination of the condition of remuneration. The penalty applicable to discrimination based on gender in employment relationships is generally the payment of six months' gross remuneration.

In addition to this, specific legal rules on gender equality lay down the following obligations :

  • All undertakings must ensure equal pay between male and female workers for all elements and conditions of the remuneration, including for job evaluation systems;
  • All undertakings must attach as an appendix to their work rule, the content of Collective Labour Agreement n°25 on equal pay between male and female;
  • Undertakings employing at least 50 workers must conduct a detailed analysis every two years on the remuneration structure within the company to determine whether it implements a gender-neutral remuneration policy. The analysis must be the subject of a report to be submitted to the work council and in the absence of a work council, to the union delegation;
  • All undertakings required to file an annual social balance sheet must provide workers' information (number of full-time and part-time workers, total of benefit granted in addition to the fixed salary, etc.) in a disaggregated form, based on the gender of the workers;
  • Listed companies and public-interest entities must have at least one-third of the board directors of a different gender than the other board directors.

Beyond legal compliance, respecting these obligations and implementing all these measures will enable companies to take concrete action to limit the gender pay gap and position themselves in the marketplace as supporting and upholding gender equality.

Do you have any questions regarding the implementation of these measures or require legal assistance in establishing a gender-neutral remuneration policy? Do not hesitate to contact our Employment team.

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