In the context of International Women’s day, President Mauricio Macri announced yesterday that the Cambiemos coalition would send to Congress a bill aimed at achieving gender parity in the workplace. Hours later, it was effectively introduced to the Lower House, which is now set to discuss it.
The bill’s main goals are: achieving equal pay for equal work; having the same criteria be applied at the time of hiring workers and within the company’s daily life – when deciding who to promote, for example – as well ensuring safe working conditions; and extending and creating leaves of absence that workers may need as a result of different family affairs.
Let’s take a look at them individually.
- Read more: On International Women’s Day, Macri Says He Will Send Bill to Congress Aimed at Closing Gender Pay Gap
When it comes to the first two goals, the bill intends to modify the Labor Contracts Law, which establishes the main rights and obligations employers and employees have in their working relationship, by adding four articles establishing the obligation to achieve gender parity.
“Workers, regardless of their gender, will have equal rights in all areas concerning their access to employment and the development or evolution of their careers within the company,” would read a part of the new article 172 in the bill.
The next one would guarantee full oversight of “gender parity in the application of the constitutional principle of equal pay for equal work.” Moreover, the two other articles would guarantee this criteria would also be used at the time of choosing workers to “perform tasks outside the workplace,” and ensuring “equal protection against dangerous or unsanitary work.”
Article two of the bill aims at having companies fully enforce their behavioral protocols and indicates that, if they don’t have one, they will have to create it, and make sure it meets the criteria established by the Labor Ministry, which has to “guarantee respect to gender parity within the company.” Unions would also be reached by this law, as the following article determines that they would also have to re adequate their statutes to meet the mentioned requirements.
The third goal is aimed at extending leaves of absence for workers who have to deal with different aspects of their family lives. It would extend paternity leaves – for birth or adoption of a child – from two to 15 days. This period would increase by 10 more days if the adoption or the birth are multiple.
Workers would also be guaranteed two straight days off work and 10 days a year to deal with any bureaucracy related to adoption processes; five straight days off a year to undergo assisted reproductive methods; and 10 straight days as a result of gender-based violence events.
This last article takes the definition of gender-based violence from article four of law 26,485/2009, which is aimed at “preventing, sanctioning and eradicating violence against women in the contexts in which they develop their inter-personal relationships,” and defines this term as “any behavior, action or omission which affects her life, liberty, dignity, physical, psychological, sexual, economic or monetary, as well as personal security.”
Finally, articles six and seven of the bill provide the possibility of parents’ reducing their workday to take care of their newborns or young children. The first article is only aimed at mothers, and indicates that, prior agreement with the employer, she will be able to go back to work following her maternity leave to a position with a shorter workday, and be paid an amount proportional to the salary she earned before giving birth.
Article seven, on its end, reaches both parents and determines that those who are responsible for children up to four years old, will be able to reach an agreement with their employer to reduce their workdays in order to take care of them. Their pay would also be proportional to the amount of hours they would work.