Published and draft legislation - Portugal

Gender equality quotas requirement

Bill 52/XIII

The Bill was published on 5th January 2017 as one of a set of legislative initiatives by the Portuguese Government to promote equality of opportunity and reduce the gender wage gap.

The proposed law pursues a quota system to balance the proportion of men and women in management and supervisory bodies given that, as argued in the preamble, the presence of women in the senior management and oversight of companies is acknowledged to help improve business management by fostering a diversity of approach and enriching the decision-making process.

State-owned corporate sector and listed companies

The provisions of the regulation are applicable to state-owned and listed companies. The proportion of women and men of administration and supervision bodies in all firms must be:

  • At least 33.3% female by 1st January 2018, for state-owned companies,
  • At least 20% female by 1st January 2018; and at least 33.3% by 1st January 2020, for listed companies.

Consequences of non-compliance

Non-compliance with these thresholds could lead to the imposition of fines, 40% of the value of which will go to the Citizenship and Gender Equality Commission, 40% to the Stock Exchange Commission and 20% to the State.

Plans for equality

The institutions to which the regulation applies must prepare –and post on their websites- plans to encourage equality of opportunity between men and women, promoting the elimination of all gender discrimination and supporting a reasonable work/life balance.

These plans must be submitted to the Citizenship and Gender Equality Commission (“the Commission”), the competent authority to supervise the application of this law, and the Commission for Equality in the Workplace, which may make recommendations regarding the same and publish these on its website.

Every year, the Commission will write a report on how companies are applying this law. Furthermore, its application will be subject to assessment 5 years after the regulation comes into force.