Large companies: it’s time to implement a balanced representation of women and men in management positions
The French law of December 24, 2021, known as the “Rixain” law, follows on from the Copé-Zimmermann law of January 27, 2011 imposing quotas for women on boards of directors and supervisory boards, and takes a further step towards gender equality.
Indeed, Article 14 of the law establishes an obligation of balanced representation between women and men among senior executives and members of management bodies of large companies, and obliges the latter to be transparent.
- An obligation to publish representation gaps
Since March 1, 2022, large companies (more than 1,000 employees) have been required to publish annually, on their own website, any representation gaps between women and men among executives and members of management bodies.
As a transitional measure, the law provides that companies affected by the scheme have until September 1, 2022 to publish any representation gaps.
It should be noted that this information must also be included in the company’s economic, social and environmental database to which the works council has access. It will also be transmitted electronically to the French Ministry of Labor and made public on its website, as of March 1, 2023.
- Progressive objectives to be reached, with heavy sanctions
As of March 1, 2026, these same companies must meet a quota of at least 30% of women among senior executives and members of management bodies. The achievement of this objective is assessed on a group-by-group basis, i.e. among senior managers on the one hand, and among members of management bodies on the other. It will therefore not be possible to compensate for under-representation in one group by over-representation in the other.
If the objectives set by the law are not achieved, the company concerned must define appropriate and relevant measures within the framework of the mandatory annual negotiations on professional equality conducted with the union representatives.
As of March 1, 2029, the minimum objective will increase from 30% to 40%.
If this objective is not met, the company concerned has two years to comply and must, after one year, publish progress objectives and the corrective measures adopted.
If, at the end of this period, the objective has still not been reached, the employer will incur a particularly dissuasive financial penalty, imposed by the French Administration, of up to 1% of the total payroll.