Spain: The New Provisions Governing Equality Plans, Transparency and Equal Pay in Spain

In brief

Royal Decrees 901/2020 and 902/2020, both dated 13 October and published in the Spanish State Gazette ("BOE") on 14 October, are basically aimed at the regulatory implementation of the new provisions on equality plans, transparency and equal pay contained in Royal Decree Law 6/2019, dated 1 March, on urgent measures to ensure equal treatment and opportunities for women and men in employment and occupation. These two decrees complement each other.

The new regulations are a product of the agreement reached by the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy, the Ministry of Equality and the most representative national trade unions, "Comisiones Obreras" and "Unión General de Trabajadores".


The main features are:

  1. With regard to equality plans, specific rules have been established regarding (i) negotiation procedures and the legal standing necessary to negotiate in companies where there are no employee representatives, and (ii) the criteria to be taken into account when preparing the diagnosis of the situation. In addition, the regulations establish an obligation for companies to register their equality plans.
  2. In the area of transparency and equal pay, the decrees establish obligations regarding (i) gender-neutral pay audits and job assessments in companies that prepare equality plans, and (ii) a pay register that is mandatory for all companies.

Key Points

When will the new regulation on equality plans come into force?

  • Royal Decree 901/2020 comes into force on 14 January 2021.

Does this new regulation affect the equality plans that were in force prior to the date that Royal Decree 901/2020 becomes enforceable?

  • The equality plans in force at the time Royal Decree 901/2020 becomes enforceable (14 January 2021), must be amended, following a negotiation process, to comply with the new regulation within their stipulated revision period and, in all cases, by 14 January 2022.

When does the new regulation on equal pay audits come into force?

  • The gradual implementation of the new regulation will be subject to the same deadlines as those stipulated for equality plans in the Twelfth Transitory Provision of Act 3/2007, dated 22 March.

When will the new regulation on equal pay registers and job assessments come into force?

  • As Royal Decree 902/2020 does not set a specific deadline, it can be understood that the new regulation will be enforceable as of 14 April 2021.
  • In addition, the Government undertakes to set up the format and the software necessary to prepare the pay register and a computerised job-assessment procedure within six months.

What impact will the new regulation have?

  1. As to equality plans, the rules for negotiating such plans have been clarified and the precise criteria to be taken into account when preparing the diagnosis of the situation have been established. It significantly reinforces the phase prior to the drafting of the equality plan itself. It also establishes an obligation for the employer to grant access to members of the negotiating committee, who will be entitled to receive the information and documents they need to diagnose the situation.
  2. As to transparency and equal pay, the principle of equal pay for work of equal value is reinforced, introducing specific criteria or factors for assessing jobs, which will require a gender-based review of existing company policies for job assessment. In particular, companies that draw up equality plans will have to carry out or review existing jobs in order to comply with the pay register and pay audit obligations.

In the following link you will find a detailed summary of Royal Decrees 901/2020 and 902/2020.

Click here to access the Spanish version.

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