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Equal treatment: Iceland must strengthen its rules on gender equality in the workplace


Iceland must strengthen its rules on gender equality in the workplace, as laid down in the Equal Treatment Directive. [1] This is the conclusion of a reasoned opinion delivered by the EFTA Surveillance Authority today.

The objective of the Directive is to ensure the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. To that end, it contains provisions in relation to (a) access to employment, (b) working conditions, including pay; and (c) occupational social security schemes.

The Equal Treatment Directive has been implemented by the Icelandic Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men, No. 10/2008. However, in the opinion of the Authority, the implementing rules do not reflect correctly the wording of the definitions in the Directive, in particular of the terms direct discrimination and sexual harassment. It follows that workers on the Icelandic labour market may under certain circumstances not enjoy the full protection against discrimination and sexual harassment as foreseen by the Directive.

Although Iceland in principle admitted the shortcomings, it has not yet adopted the measures to rectify the situation.

Delivery of a reasoned opinion is the second stage in infringement proceedings. The Authority may bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Iceland fails to take the measures necessary to comply within two months of receiving the reasoned opinion.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Trygve Mellvang-Berg,
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66

mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

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