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European Commission warns Slovakia of legal action over implementing gender equality rules

03/06/2010 European Commission warns Slovakia of legal action over implementing gender equality rules

The European Commission on June 3 2010 sent a reasoned opinion – the final stage in EU legal proceedings before going to court – to Slovakia after it incorrectly implemented EU rules against gender discrimination in employment.

The move comes after the country failed to adequately transpose the legislation agreed at EU level in its national law.

The Commission began infringement proceedings against Slovakia in June 2007. In moving to the second stage of legal action, the Commission pointed out that the Directive prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in the field of employment, except in certain cases where there are specific occupational requirements. Slovakia has not correctly implemented the limited exemptions as required by Article 2(6) of the Directive.

  • Slovak national legislation does not guarantee the full set of rights for women returning from maternity leave under Article 2(7) of the Directive: the right to any improvement in working conditions to which the woman would have been entitled during her absence and the right to return on the same terms and conditions after maternity leave.
  • Slovak law does not expressly transpose Article 3(1)(a), which prohibits direct and indirect discrimination in relation to conditions of access to employment and self-employment. 

Directive 2002/73/EC is a central element in the broader body of European legislation on equal treatment between women and men. It aims to implement the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the field of employment and occupation. It introduces, in particular, detailed definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment. It also requires the creation of a body or bodies for the promotion, analysis, monitoring and support of equal treatment of all persons without discrimination on the grounds of sex and requires Members States to encourage dialogue with non-governmental organisations. The deadline for transposing the Directive into national law was 5 October 2005.

 

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