On 27 December 2017, Peru’s new law (Law No 30709 – ‘Law prohibiting pay discrimination between men and women’) was published in the Official Gazette, El Peruano.
The purpose of the law is to prohibit wage discrimination between men and women in equivalent or identical categories or functions. Companies must keep tables detailing employee categories and functions and companies that do not already have tables must prepare them within 180 days of 28 December 2017. Employers must set employee pay in a way that does not discriminate on gender grounds.
Employers are also prohibited from dismissing or failing to renew employment contracts of pregnant or breastfeeding employees for any reason relating to their condition.
Peru’s National Superintendency of Labour Inspection (SUNAFIL) and regional labour offices (Labour Authority) are responsible for supervising compliance with the new law. The potential consequences for an organisation failing to comply are as follows:
- Continued discrimination may be considered a ‘hostile act’ and employees can take legal action against the organisation to bring discrimination to an end.
- An employee can also consider the ‘hostile act’ as constituting an unjustified dismissal and take legal action to be indemnified for dismissal.
- The Labour Authority can undertake an investigation and if the organisation is found to have committed a ‘hostile act’ by providing disparate remuneration on the grounds of gender, they can be liable for a fine of between 5 and 1000 UIT, depending on the number of employees affected by the hostile act. (Note that the tax reference units, the UIT for this year is PEN 4,150.00).
In a related development, Peru’s existing anti-discrimination Law No 26772 was amended and extended to clarify that offers of employment and access to training must not be made subject to any requirements that constitute discrimination, or which are contrary to the principles of equal opportunities and equal treatment.
Although the new law is perceived as novel, this is not the first legislative step towards equal pay for equal work in Peru: Article 30 of Supreme Decree N° 003-97-TR (1997) already identified wage discrimination on gender grounds as a ‘hostile act’ for employment law purposes. However, Law N° 30709 was enacted in order to strengthen the protection of employees and clarify the scope of the anti-discrimination rules. And the signs are that it has been positively received.