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Equality Promotion Plan and non-discrimination

The equality and non-discrimination of employees in the workplace are important to maintain a good working atmosphere. That, in turn, affects the business’s success. This page contains instructions for writing a business’s Equality Promotion Plan and Non-Discrimination Plan.

If you are an employer with 30 or more regular employees, you must write an Equality Promotion Plan with a focus on remuneration and other employment terms at least once every two years. The Equality Promotion Plan can be incorporated into a personnel and training plan or an occupational health and safety policy.

What must an Equality Promotion Plan include?

An Equality Promotion Plan must be written in cooperation with employee representatives, and it must include:

  • a report on the equality situation in the workplace, including a breakdown of hiring of women and men in different roles, as well as an analysis of women’s and men’s duties’ classification, pay and pay differences (pay analysis);
  • necessary measures to promote equality and pay equality which are planned to be implemented;
  • and an assessment of actions in the Equality Promotion Plan already taken and their results.

You can agree at the company level to analyse pay equality at least every third year if the other aspects of the Equality Promotion Plan are carried out annually.

The Equality Promotion Plan must be written in cooperation with employee representatives (shop steward, non-union elected representative or other representative chosen by employees). However, as an employer you do not need to agree on the contents of the plan with employee representatives. You must inform your employees about the Equality Promotion Plan and updates to it.

If you incorporate the Equality Promotion Plan into a personnel and training plan or an occupational health and safety policy, the process must comply with the Act on Cooperation within Undertakings.

If you neglect to write a plan in the workplace, the Ombudsman for Equality can set a deadline by which you, the employer, must write a plan. If you do not write a plan by that date, the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal can set you, the employer, a conditional fine to force compliance, and make the fine binding.

The Equality Promotion Plan must include a report on the equality situation in the workplace. This report can be based on statistics, surveys and other workplace data. You can establish the equality situation in the workplace by investigating recruitment practices, hiring principles and statistics, such as on pensions, training days, parental leave, work accidents and sick leave. The report can examine the suitability of the working environment for both genders, such as on the basis of work tools and break rooms.

You can also establish the equality situation by asking the employees directly, such as in working atmosphere surveys. You can use these surveys to map matters such as attitudes to equality, the prevalence of sexual harassment, and problems with work-life balance in the workplace. Based on the report, you can decide as the employer in cooperation with employee representatives what action is needed to promote equality, and how it should be taken. However, it is important to note that as the employer you are responsible for the compliance of equality promotion planning with the Act on Equality between Women and Men, and for including a breakdown of the placement of women and men in different roles and a pay analysis in the Equality Promotion Plan.

A pay analysis does not have to evaluate the demands of different roles, but if you wish, you may as an employer do a demand evaluation in cooperation with employee representatives. The pay analysis should cover all of your employees, including different employee groups, part-time, and fixed-contract employees.

You can either classify the roles occupied by women and men using a classification in accordance with the role demand evaluation system you use as an employer, or you can use a detailed in-house grouping system used in the company. When compiling the pay analysis, you must ensure individual employees’ pay is not disclosed. If the analysis shows there is pay discrimination in the workplace, you must as an employer inspect and correct the shortcomings.

The Equality Promotion Plan must include actions planned for implementation or launch in the next period which are necessary to promote equality. The actions are not prescribed anywhere, but the actions you include in your plan must be tangible and realistic.

The goal of the actions is to improve equal career development opportunities for women and men, and achieve equality in workplace training, working conditions, pay and balanced use of family leave. You can also take action with the aim of promoting equality between the genders and affecting attitudes towards harassment.

Alongside actions, you should also agree on the goals, methods and schedules for the actions. The Equality Promotion Plan may include both short-term and long-term goals. The long-term goals may include increasing the number of women in leadership roles or reducing groundless pay gaps, while one short-term goal could be writing a plan to improve working conditions.

The Equality Promotion Plan must include an evaluation of the actions taken in the previous year’s plan and their results. This evaluation also serves as a template for the following year’s plan and is used to monitor implementation of the plan.

Non-discrimination and Non-discrimination Plan

As an employer, you must actively promote non-discrimination and genuinely develop non-discriminatory working conditions and methods. The goal is to make non-discrimination promotion a part of the regular development of the workplace. Action to promote non-discrimination can be embedded in the evaluation of hazards laid down by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the occupational safety and health development process based on that.

Non-discrimination plan mandatory for all workplaces with over 30 employees

If, as an employer, you regularly employ at least 30 employees, the workplace must have a plan of the actions necessary to promote non-discrimination. There is no set format for the plan, but it must be verifiable and subject to review.

The non-discrimination planning process should as a rule contain four stages:

  1. Establish the non-discrimination situation in the workplace
  2. Assess the needs of the workplace
  3. Take the necessary promotional actions
  4. Monitor the impact of the actions

Read more in the guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for promotion of non-discrimination in the workplace (in Finnish).