b) Italy and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)
“The NAP addresses the issue of the negative impact of business activities on human rights and identifies specific commitments with the aim of effectively integrating the UNGPs into the national system and business activities” and introduces limited objectives and actions, with reference to the national context translated into the following priorities:
The fight against discrimination and inequality and the promotion of equal opportunities” (p. 10)
c) National Priorities
“3. Combating all forms of discrimination in the definition of business companies’ strategic priorities in order to guarantee a performance that respects diversity, with particular reference to automated information management mechanisms and digital sustems” (p. 11)
IV. Italian ongoing activities and future commitments
“With regard to gender discrimination in the workplace, territorial offices of the National Labour Inspectorate (INL), performing their supervisory activity, also carry out investigations in relation to equal opportunity regulations and the prohibition of gender discrimination in the workplace, including in terms of remuneration.” (p. 31)
The principle of Diversity management in the business context
“In general, the issue of inclusion of vulnerable people in the workplace and the promotion of diversity management is a strategic line of action under the mandate of the National Anti-Racial Discrimination Office (UNAR).
On 24 November 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between UNAR, trade unions and employers’ organizations for the prevention and combating of discrimination in the workplace and the enhancement of differences. UNAR is also engaged in the implementation of specific actions to support sociooccupational inclusion of vulnerable persons, particularly at risk of marginality (transgender persons, RSC) under the NOP Inclusion 2014-2020, which will be reproposed also in the EU 2021-2027 programming. On this matter during 2020 the INL inspection staff implemented, as usual, initiatives for the prevention and promotion of legality, through the organization of specific information meetings, pursuant to Art. 8, paragraph 1, Legislative Decree No. 124/2004. It also deals with equal opportunities and combating discrimination in the workplace. Such regulation is among the competences of Labour Inspectorates at the local level. Through their own inspection staff, they can organize specific events with the purpose of guaranteeing and assuring proper compliance with labour regulations and social security and assistance measures, focusing on the social relevance as well as on legislative and interpretative innovations from Administrations. These initiatives are addressed not only to employers but also to all subjects operating in the labour market (in particular trade associations, professional unions and professional orders). Moreover, specific initiatives are carried out in schools in order to spread the culture of legality among the future actors of the labour market.
Important advances have also been recorded from the point of view of employers’ compliance with Law No. 76/2016 on civil unions, which includes, among other things: ‘marriage’ leave; obligation to extend leaves and permits provided by legislation and collective bargaining for certain family care needs (e.g., monthly paid leave to assist a partner with a severely disabled ascertained by Law No. 104/1992); obligation to extend welfare schemes, introduced by means of company collective agreements, concerning benefits (in addition to those provided for by collective bargaining) in terms of education, recreation, social or health care, flexible working hours, smart working.
Finally, with regard to the gender dimension, during 2020 an important collaboration process was launched between the National Equality Advisor and Sodalitas Foundation, which represents companies that have signed the Charter for Equal Opportunity and Equality at Work in order to define a plan to relaunch the Charter in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies. In this context, a number of activities were launched: monitoring of the Charter’s current signatories; design of a self-assessment tool on the implementation of the principles of diversity and inclusion; design of a new dedicated website; design of a bonus mechanism that provides a score for the most committed companies. On 12 November 2020, the event entitled “Integrating diversity at work: a valuable choice. The Charter for Equal Opportunities to spread the culture of diversity in companies” was held: it highlighted the essential role of creating partnerships and networks involving companies, national institutions and the EU Commission, in order to encourage change and reduce inequalities in the labour market. On this occasion the work of the “EU Diversity Charters Platform” of the EU Commission was presented, in which Italy launched the Charter for Equal Opportunities and best practices of some companies involved.” (p. 42)
ANNEX 1 – Accountability Grid and Assessment Tools for the Implementation of the NAP
“11. Promote in a strengthened way women’s leadership and women’s empowerment in the business sector, through an effective implementation of Law No. 120/2011, and to strengthen measures to prevent gender discrimination in the workplace – depending on the better implementation of Law No. 4 of 15 January 2021 of ratification of the International Labour Organization Convention No. 190 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the Workplace. To this complex end, further actions will be promoted to: i) certify equality for companies through the definition of a simple, fast, streamlined and objective tool that measures the situation of staff according to different factors (recruitment, remuneration, career development), capable of stimulating change and having an impact on the entire productive and social system; ii) assess the gender impact (ex-ante and ex-post) in all business processes, in particular with regard to corporate restructuring processes (relevant for safeguarding gender balance in the post-Covid phase); (iii) to promote transparency measures provided for in current legislation on compliance with gender equality rules by companies and public bodies.” (p. 62)
“22. Encourage businesses in the dissemination of a culture of nondiscrimination by: i) the promotion of agreements/protocols of understanding with trade unions and employers’ organizations for common and synergic actions to prevent and combat forms of discrimination in the workplace and for the full inclusion of workers; ii) the collection of statistical data on discrimination in employment and diversity management practices in Italian companies; (iii) the promotion of good inclusive practices in the workplace; (iv) the promotion of socio-occupational inclusion of transgender people, also through information, training, accompaniment and support to self-entrepreneurship; v) the promotion of an action to involve Italian companies, in line with UN Standards Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people, in order to prevent and countering discriminatory behaviors and conducts against LGBTIQ+ persons and ensuring the full enjoyment of their rights; vi) the promotion of socio-occupational inclusion of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti people in precarious socio-economic conditions also through actions aimed at starting employment diagnoses, planning of personalized support towards training and employment, promotion of active social policies to encourage participation in the labour market as well as opportunities and strategies for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives (such as, for example, accompaniment and support for business start-up and/or repositioning of economic companies operating in critical sectors); vii) the promotion of entrepreneurial policies and good practices on inclusion and diversity management, entailing the implementation and reporting of the Charter for Equal Opportunities and Equality at Work.” (p. 65)
“23. Monitor the application of artificial intelligence in the workplace (e.g. recruitment mechanisms) for the purpose of assessing impact on human rights in terms of inclusion and non-discrimination.” (p. 65)