Gender equality certification: what it is and how it works
Gender equality certification was introduced and is regulated by Articles 4 and 5 of Law No. 162/2021.
Specifically, the purpose of gender equality certification is to promote policies and concrete measures useful to reduce the gender gap in relation to growth opportunities in the company, so as to improve the possibility for female workers to enter the world of work, to have equal pay, leadership and harmonization of life time by employers.
Beyond Law No. 162/2021, provisions on gender equality certification are contained in UNI/PdR 125:2022-published on March 16, 2022 by UNI Ente italiano di normazione – which regulates the practice useful for the purpose of defining policies, technical prescriptions and functional elements necessary for the certification of gender equality in companies.
This document aims to incentivize companies to adopt policies to reduce the gender gap in all areas of major criticality and sets the benchmarks with which companies must comply in order to achieve certification.
In detail, 6 assessment areas are specifically identified that are useful in distinguishing an inclusive and gender-equal organization:
- culture and strategy;
- HR processes;
- opportunities for growth and inclusion of women in the company;
- gender pay equity;
- parenting protection and work-life balance.
For each of these areas performance indicators (so called KPIs – Key Performance Indicators) are given. Each of them has a score associated with it, by specifying which performance indicators companies need to achieve depending on their size (micro 1 to 9 employees, small 10 to 49 employees, medium 50 to 249 or large 250 and above).
Only companies that achieve a score of 60 percent are eligible for certification.
The certification obtained is valid for three years and is subject to annual monitoring by the organizations themselves.
What are the advantages for companies that obtain gender equality certification
Companies that obtain gender equality certification, according to the provisions of Article 5 of Law No. 162/2021, can enjoy the following benefits:
- an exemption from the payment of social security contributions calculated on the total social security contribution owed by the employer, to an extent not exceeding 1% and up to a maximum of 50,000 euros annually (currently this measure has only been provided for 2022);
- a bonus score for the evaluation by authorities holding national and regional European funds of project proposals for the purpose of granting state aid;
- a bonus score for the evaluation, by contracting authorities, of bids submitted following the publication of calls for tenders, notices or invitations relating to procedures for the acquisition of services, supplies, works and works.
How gender equality is certified
Certification is issued exclusively by certification bodies accredited with Accredia (under EC Regulation 765/2008) operating on the basis of UNI/PdR 125:2022 practice.