As organizations settle into more flexible working arrangements in the wake of the pandemic, we are seeing a wave of changes in Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (I,D&E)-related legislation. Across the globe, governments are seeking to augment long-established, generic laws on equality to promote inclusion and diversity in the workforce and keep up with measures that many organizations are already implementing.
In this update, we summarize recent trends and developments in I,D&E, focusing in particular on those relating to women in the workplace and work-life balance.
Supporting women in the workplace
Governments are recognizing the need for laws to protect the rights of and alleviate difficulties unique to working women. A menstrual leave for female employees is under discussion in Spain. In the UK, menopause in the workplace has gained much traction in the light of businesses, governments and regulators having publicly recognized menopause as a health priority. In China, a provincial court issued its first equal opportunity case judgment in favor of a pregnant employee. In Latin America, Colombia has required the implementation of nursing rooms in private companies with less than 1,000 employees, while Argentina has required employers to provide maternity and day care rooms for companies with more than 100 employees.
Meanwhile, Brazil, Singapore and Japan have launched initiatives to strengthen career advancement opportunities for women, and in Europe, the European Commission has proposed a directive for EU member states to enforce a quota on the participation of women in corporate boards, following the initiatives of Germany and the Netherlands.
Work-life balance and family-friendly changes
With the European Union’s deadline on implementing the work-life balance directive now having passed, several member states including Poland, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands are slated to enforce enhanced parental and carer’s leaves. In the Asia Pacific region, several jurisdictions including China, Japan and Malaysia have improved parental leaves for employees, including giving options for employees to request flexible working arrangements to accommodate the needs of their young families.
To read our full report on the latest regional developments and thought leadership pieces in I,D&E click here.