Substantial amendments were made to s26, s26a and s26b of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act, which came into force on 1 January 2020.
Pursuant to s26 (first paragraph), every employer is obliged to actively and systematically work to promote equality and prevent discrimination.
Under s26 (second paragraph), any organisation in the public sector and businesses employing more than 50 employees in the private sector are required to conduct a risk analysis of potential discrimination or obstacles to achieve equality within the organisation. The results must be evaluated and if necessary the employer must initiate measures suitable for preventing discrimination and promoting equality. This also includes a duty to map wage statistics, every other year, on the basis of gender as well as the extent of involuntarily part-time work. The same obligation applies to businesses employing between 20 and 50 employees, and if either the employer or employees request it.
Pursuant to s26a, employers caught by the obligation in s26 (second paragraph), must account in writing for how they are fulfilling this obligation. This written account must either be provided in the organisation’s annual report or another document that is publicly accessible. The results of the wage statistic survey should be presented so that individuals cannot be identified.
Smaller businesses are not required to present a written account, but must nevertheless document how they are actively and systematically working to promote equality and prevent discrimination. The information should be accessible to employees, and, upon request, to the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal and the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman.
In terms of enforcement, the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman is tasked with assisting and providing employers with guidance on how to fulfil their obligations under s26.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal has competence to enact measures in the event of non-compliance with the duty to provide a written account. They can also issue monetary fines until a business complies.