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LAW ON GENDER EQUALITY IN THE SOCIETY
(Nr.9198, dated 1.7.2004)
In reliance on Articles 78 and 83 point 1 of the Constitution, on the proposal of a group of assembly members,
OF THE REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA
Purpose of the law
The purpose of this law is:
a) to ensure equal rights to women and men as provided in article 18 of the Constitution of Republic of Albania;
b) to set out measures to promote equal opportunities among men and women aimed at eliminating direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of gender in the country’s public life;
c) To set out the responsibilities of central and Local Administration for drafting policies aimed at promoting an equal gender society.
This law is not applicable to the religious and the private life of the citizens.
For the purpose of this law:
“Equal Gender Society”, is a society in which men and women enjoy equal opportunities to participate as equal partners in all the activities of all fields, to share responsibilities and to enjoy equal political, social, economic and cultural rights.
“Violation of equal rights on men and women” or “discrimination” is active or passive action, which signifies underestimation, dislike, contempt and restriction of rights or privileges on the grounds of sex, besides following cases:
a) Special protection for women during pregnancy, childbirth and illness.
b) Compulsory military service only for men;
c) Different retirement ages for women and men in a correct ratio with work experience;
ç) Exemptions of women labour from certain dangerous sectors;
“Sexual harassment” is an offensive behaviour of sexual nature that includes words or actions against a person at work, business or other dependence relations.
“Decision taking functions” are all leadership, organisational, supervisory or executive functions, exercised by public authority in the legislative, judicial and public administration bodies at central and local level.
Government and public administration responsibilities
In order to ensure equal rights for women and men, the Council of Ministers and the Public Administration, in accordance with their competencies, shall:
a) Make sure that equal opportunities for women and men are protected by normative acts;
b) Draft and implement programs aimed at changing public attitude regarding the superiority of one sex towards the other
c) Establish institutional mechanisms to ensure support for the programmes on equal opportunities proposed by civil society and public institutions
ç) Organise the collection of gender statistics in the public administration and in the private sector, so as to reach conclusions on the promotion of equal opportunities for men and women.
The employer’s obligation to apply equal rights
In order to implement equal rights for women and men at work the employer shall:
a) Apply equal recruitment criteria, except for the specific cases defined in Article 2 of this law;
b) Ensure equal work conditions, equal opportunities and improve the qualifications for equal earnings.
c) Apply equal evaluation criteria of work quality;
ç) Apply equal salary for an equal value work;
d) Take measures against sexual harassment at work;
dh) Take measures to prohibit the persecution towards the employee who has submitted a discrimination claim to employee;
e) Employ in every position or vacancy without gender differences at all levels of professional hierarchy.
Discriminatory acts of employer
The Employer ‘s actions are considered as discriminatory if, on the grounds of gender:
a) The Employer uses different standards related to working hours and/or salary on equal value work towards employers;
b) The Employer establishes differing work conditions for his or her employees;
c) The Employer undertakes disciplinary measures towards the employee, changes work conditions, transfer him or her to another work, or terminate terms of agreement;
ç) The Employer punishes the employee due to an appeal on the above mentioned grounds.
Employer’s responsibilities to protect employees from discrimination
In order to protect employees from discrimination, especially from sexual harassment, the employer is responsible to:
a) Set out disciplinary measures against sexual harassment in the internal regulations in compliance with this law
b) Obtain information connected to sexual harassment in the work environment from employees.
c) Take appropriate organizational and disciplinary measures after examination of the claim,
The employer shall anchor appeal mechanisms on gender-related claims in the collective labour contract.
Public authority responsible for gender equality in the area of employment
The public authority responsible for the implementation and monitoring of this law in the employment area is the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
To implement the measures aimed at the improvement of equal opportunities and to the elimination of direct and indirect gender discrimination, the Minister of Labour and Social Matters organises the supervision and exercises control to the institutions that work under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs such as:
a) The National Employment Service ensures and monitors the implementation of measures on equal opportunities among men and women in the areas of employment and vocational training as well as in the unemployment and social support area;
b) The Social Security Institute ensures the implementation of gender equality measures in the management and administration of the public retirement scheme and other social security rights;
c) The State Labour Inspectorate aims at the supervision of the implementation of gender equality measures as regards employment practices and labour relationships, health and work security in the public and private sector;
ç) The General Administration of the State Social Service manages the state welfare programmes for unemployed and disabled persons, respecting the gender equality principle whilst providing assistance and social support.
Discriminatory actions in education and science institutions
The activity of education and science institutions will be considered as discriminatory on the grounds of gender if:
- a) These institutions apply different admission criteria for schooling or study programs, in creating curricula or in assessing knowledge;
- b) Differing opportunities of choice are awarded regarding subjects of studies and/or training, and differing criteria are applied regards duration of studies.
1) A study or job announcement constitutes discrimination if it contains gender-specific priority criteria, except for the special cases laid out in Article 2 of the present law.
2) It is forbidden to ask for information on civil status, private or family life in the job announcements.
3) Creators of advertisement shall ensure that their advertisement message does not conflict with the natural gender equality, does not imply any discriminatory statement on both sexes, and does not depict any woman or man in an offensive manner.
Participation in the decision-making process
Equal opportunities related to participation in the decision-making process shall be ensured through:
a) Creating an equal gender society based on equal opportunities among men and women which act together as equal partners in an equal society, in drafting and implementing state policy and private institutions policy at the central and local level;
b) The political parties and the NPOs shall abide by this law by supporting and improving equal participation of men and women, in the process of management and decision-making in the political, legislative and social life;
c) The high state officials, who have the right to propose nominations on important state functions, shall create equal opportunities among men and women;
ç) The Department of Public Administation and the Personnel Departments in independent institutions shall set equal recruitment, assessment and selection criteria for men and women in reliance on the Constitution, on Law No. 8549, dated 11. 11. 1999, “On the Status of Civil Servants”, the Labour Code and the present Law;
d) In order to ensure gender balance whilst recruiting new staff in the state institutions, the decision-making process, during the selection procedures shall give precedence to women, if the later have equivalent qualifications and work experience, and were assessed as the equals of the male candidates.
Resolution of complaints on gender discrimination
1) Each citizen, who claims to have suffered discriminatory actions or sexual harassment as defined in this law, has the right to bring up his/her case
2) If employees consider they are discriminated on the grounds of gender, they are entitled to bring up the case to the employer or against the employer, if the latter is directly involved, by invoking the support of the employees’ organisations to solve the case.
Responsible state structure
- In order to implement the policy on Gender Equality, in order to draft programmes and to monitor the concrete situation regarding gender issues, by the order of the Prime Minister, an Inter-ministerial Committee is established as an Advisory Body.
Composition of the inter-ministerial Committee
- The Inter-ministerial Committee is an advisory body composed by the Prime Minister, the Chairperson of the Committee on Gender Equality and the representatives from Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Order and Ministry of Local Government and Decentralisation. Relevant ministers appoint the representatives. The Committee also includes representatives from two NPOs, which have gender equality as the object of their activity;
- The members of the Inter-ministerial Committee have a four-year mandate without re-election right;
- The Inter-ministerial Committee meets at least twice a year and the Prime Minister chairs the meetings;
- The Chairperson of the Committee on Gender Equality proposes to the Prime Minister to hold a meeting and prepares the meeting’s agenda;
- The organisation, functioning and also the remuneration of his members is defined in the internal regulations approved by a Prime Minister order.
Tasks of the inter-ministerial Committee
The Inter-ministerial Committee is tasked with:
a) Approving the main long term, mid term and short term programs to promote gender equality in society.
b) Analysing the actual situation of gender equality in the country, based on the report submitted by the Chairperson of the Gender Equality Committee, checking the accomplishment of the programs approved by this Committee.
c) Proposing the budget of the Committee on Gender Equality to the Council of Ministers based on the analysis of the Gender Equality Committee.
ç) Proposing the necessary legislative changes to the government, in case special laws contradict this law.
d) Proposing the structure of the Gender Equality Committee and the regional network organisation.
dh) Selecting and proposing the nominations for Chairperson of Gender Equality Committee to the Prime Minister taking into account the experience in the human rights respect area and gender equality problems.
e) Proposing the dismissal of the Chairperson of the Gender Equality Committee in case the one-year activity of the Committee results negative.
ë) Nominating the two members of the Inter-ministerial Committee, which represent Albanian NPOs.
f) Approving the annual report on the activities of the Committee on Gender Equality.
The Chairperson of the Gender Equality Committee
- The Prime Minister on the proposal of the Inter-ministerial Committee appoints the Chairperson of the Committee on Gender Equality.
- The Chairperson of the Committee on Gender Equality has a four-year mandate with the right of a one-time extension.
- The Chairperson of the Committee on Gender Equality fulfils following tasks:
a) Proposes the Committee’s activities and action plans on the promotion of gender equality and the pertinent budget to the Inter-ministerial Committee;
b) Drafts an annual report related to the promotion of gender equality for the Inter-ministerial Committee;
c) Informs the Inter-ministerial Committee and Prefects on the activity of the gender specialists
ç) Takes measures for the training of Committee staff, specialists of gender equality in the state administration and women organisation on gender equality issues;
d) Leads the activity of the Committee on Gender Equality and the regional relevant network;
dh) Organises the collection of statistics on Gender and prepares a survey based on this data on gender equality situation in the country;
e) Drafts long term, mid term and short term programs and also action plans on equal opportunities in Albania;
ë) Leads the implementation of programs approved by Inter-ministerial Committee and follows their implementation;
f) Checks the functioning of the network of gender specialists in the regions for the accomplishment of the approved programs, and takes measures for the improvement of their work;
g). Undertakes awareness-raising campaigns on the equal gender society;
gj) Co-operates with representatives of women movement;
h) Takes part in international co-operation so as to exchange advanced experiences related to gender equality issues.
- Violation of the provisions of the present law are sanctioned through disciplinary, civil, administrative or criminal law measures for the offender in reliance with the provisions of this law, and also in compliance with the Labour Code, Civil Code, Criminal Code, and Law No. 8579 dated 11.11.1999 “On the Status of Civil Servants”.
- If the violation is perpetuated by civil servants, the claims for the violation of this right are directed to the higher state official in the pertinent administration, who shall fine the violator up to 30,000 lek, if the violation is not covered by section 1 of this Article.
- The State Labour Inspectorate also exercises this competence, when such violations are ascertained during the inspection of juridical, private, and state entities.
- The employee that has been discriminated on the basis of gender can appeal to the court.
- If the court ascertains that the employee is discriminated on the basis of gender, it decides to prohibit future discriminatory acts. It also decides to award moral or material compensation for the damage done.
- When there is a final ruling of the court, the employer is obliged to stop the discrimination of the employee, to enable the employee to work, to pay the salary and all state obligations and social insurance as well as the compensation for moral and material damage caused.
- If re-admission to work proves impossible, the court shall impose a penalty up to 50 per cent of the employee’s salary according to Article 202 of the Labour Code
The Decisions of the Committee of Ministers No. 415, dated 1.7.1998, No. 59, dated 23.1.2003 and No. 127, dated 15.3.2003, and any other legal and subs-legal act that is in violation with this law are abrogated.
Entry into force
This law enters in force 15 days subsequent to its publication in the Official Journal.