Yes. Employers must distribute the benefits granted to its employees for parenting and performance of family obligations on equal grounds (clause 3 (1) 3) and clauses 6 (2) 1), 3) and 4) of the Gender Equality Act).
If an employer pays, by way of a very good and commendable initiative, its employees with children additional benefits, allowances or support (for example, in the event of childbirth or first day of school), allows flexitime or remote work, gives children Christmas presents or organises a Christmas party for them, offers the employees the opportunity to use a gym for free with their children, etc., it must treat all employees with children equally, regardless of the type of family in which the child is being raised.
When granting benefits to employees for the performance of family obligations, the employer cannot differentiate between working parents or carers raising children on the basis of age (e.g. if the children are raised by a grandparent) or sexual orientation (e.g. if the children are raised in a family with same-sex parents) (clause (2) (2) 2) and subsection 2 (3) of the Equal Treatment Act).
If an employer offers its employees more favourable opportunities to reconcile work and family life than required by law, but does not extend these rights to all employees raising children, the activity of employer is deemed to be discriminatory.
Foster parents, parents of adopted children or parents of foster families must not be treated less favourably upon the distribution of benefits. If an employer were to give benefits only to employees who are the biological parents of their children, this could be indirectly discriminatory towards other people raising children. Nor can an employer assume that every child has two parents.
Granting additional benefits to single parents, families with many children or families who are in a more difficult economic situation is not considered discrimination. Establishing advantages or benefits only for employees who care for their family members is also not deemed discrimination.
Clauses 6 (2) 1), 3) and 4) of the Gender Equality Act
Subsection 5 (1) of the Gender Equality Act
Clause 2 (2) 2) and subsection 2 (3) of the Equal Treatment Act
The activities of an employer are also deemed to be discriminatory if the employer treats a person less favourably due to pregnancy, child-birth, parenting, performance of family obligations or other circumstances related to gender (subsection 6 (2) of the Gender Equality Act).
This explanation does not constitute legal aid in a specific case. Therefore, if you feel that you have been treated unequally, but you did not find a solution to your problem in this article, or if you have a question, please contact the Equality Commissioner by e-mail at email@example.com or telephone +372 626 9059. The anonymity of the person is guaranteed when contacting the Commissioner.