Gender Equality Law adopted

The National Assembly has adopted the new Law on Gender Equality on May 24, 2021, which has entered into force on June 1, 2021, except for the provisions of the law relating to unpaid housework, the provision of specialized support services for victims of violence and the publication of annual statistics that will begin to apply from January 1, 2024. 

The new legal solution determines the obligations of public authorities, employers, and other natural and legal persons in relation to gender equality. Also, measures are envisaged to combat gender discrimination and achieve and promote gender equality, which is one of the basic international standards in ensuring human rights.

With the law’s entry into force, the previous Law on Gender Equality ceases to be valid, and court proceedings for protection against discrimination initiated on the basis of the previous law, which have not been completed by the day this law enters into force, will be terminated under the new Law on Gender Equality. 

The law establishes special areas in which general measures prohibiting discrimination and special measures for achieving and promoting gender equality are implemented by public authorities and employers. One of the special measures that caused the most attention was the use of gender-sensitive language in the names of jobs, positions, titles and occupations and gender balance in administrative and supervisory bodies.

The obligation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia is to adopt planning acts in the form of the National Strategy for Gender Equality for a period of 10 years, as well as the adoption of an Action Plan that serves for the implementation of the strategy. While public authorities and all employers who have more than 50 employees and work engaged persons are obliged to adopt a plan and program for achieving gender equality, as well as to inform the Ministry about the adopted plans by submitting excerpts from the plan in the part related to the promotion of gender equality. For non-compliance with the obligation to notify the ministry, fines are prescribed for the employer and the responsible person.

An important novelty in relation to the previous Law on Gender Equality is the prohibition of violence based on gender, gender characteristics, that is, gender and violence against women in the private and public spheres. Namely, the previous law prescribed protection against violence only within the family, while the new law completely regulates the obligations to report all types of violence, prescribes general and specialized victim support services, as well as the programs for perpetrators of violence in the form of nonviolent behavioural models training. 

The new law prescribes significantly higher amounts of fines. Employers, political parties, and trade unions will be fined in the range of 50,000.00 to 2,000,000.00 RSD if they do not act in accordance with the law, while a fine in the range of 5,000.00 to 1,500.00 RSD is prescribed for public authorities.

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