Department of Labour Relations

A national model for certifying enterprises which adopt policies promoting gender equality in the workplace has been developed, and a National Certification Body was established in April 2014 responsible for granting these certifications, by decision of the Council of Ministers. The National Body is chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, who can be represented by the Director of Department of Labour Relations, while its members are the Gender Equality Commissioner and representatives of the employers’ and employees’ associations.

According to the model of certification, companies have the right to apply for two types of certification namely (a) “Best Practice” for individual practices applied, and (b) “Equality Employer” for adopting a comprehensive system of promoting gender equality in their workplace.

A Call for Applications is announced annually, with a specific application deadline each time, and enterprises or organisations which are interested in being certified can submit an application.

Each application is examined by one or more Evaluators, who may ask for additional information or documents. The Evaluators visit the offices or other workplace of the enterprise / organisation and interview the management team as well as a representative sample of the employees.

After the on-the-spot visits have been completed, the Evaluators prepare an Evaluation Report. The Evaluation Report is then submitted to the National Certification Body. The Certification Body decides whether the enterprise / organisation can be Certified or not and informs the applicant in writing.

Following the certification decision, a special ceremony is organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, during which the Minister awards prizes to the companies, followed by the publication of the event to local media. Also, enterprises that have been awarded a certification, are in an advantageous position as regards their participation in public procurement tenders.

Certification is valid for a period of four years, after which enterprises / organizations wishing to renew it, must apply for the renewal and follow the entire process of audits. In such a case, and if the business / organization succeeds in all stages of the process, the certification is renewed for another four years.

Some of the good practices for which companies were awarded a certification are the following:

Appointment of Equality Officers, or establishment of an Equality Committee within the enterprise with the participation of both male and female employees, responsible for receiving and handling complaints of discrimination on grounds of sex, or more general equal treatment issues between men and women within the organization.
Organising workshops about Women in Leadership, addressed to female employees who are either already in senior management positions or are candidates for such positions, with the aim of encouraging them to identify career barriers, engage in self-evaluation, improve their communication skills and upgrade their professional profile.
Providing mentoring to high performance female employees with the goal of supporting them in setting and pursuing individual goals and offering them experiences and opportunities for their personal development.
Applying a “Working Mothers Scheme” under which female employees have the right to flexible working arrangements after having children (and before they reach 18 years of age), as a way of balancing their work and family life better (flexible working hours, reduced hours, compressed work week, tele-working).
Granting part of the kindergarten cost incurred by an employee (25% -50%), on the provision that the choice of school allows the immediate response of the employee to the child’s needs, while at the same time ensuring the employee’s uninterrupted execution of duties at work.
Offering summer school for employees' children, organised at the employer’s premises, the cost being largely subsidized by the employer, while providing creative time, education and entertainment to children.
Training programmes targeted to employees after long-term absence from their duties, aiming at their smooth reintegration, and their equal treatment in terms of evaluation, pay and career prospects
"First-day-of-school” leave granted to working parents, in order to be able to escort their children on the first day of elementary school.
Special working facilities for pregnant workers during the last month of their pregnancy, providing the right to work from home several days a week.
Temporary movement of a pregnant employee, from a position that requires manual work or increased physical effort, to office duties, until she returns from maternity leave.
Complementing the maternity allowance of employees up to their salary level.
Actions to increase the representation of women in technical departments of the enterprise / organization through the provision of full-time and part-time jobs, flexible working hours and recruitment of trainees.
Professional guidance offered by the enterprise to employees’ children, for guiding them in choosing education fields and professions.
Establishing an on-line training platform within the enterprise, ensuring that every employee, regardless of their gender, family status, work duties or family responsibilities, has access to life-long learning.