Why a gender equal opportunity agreement?
An audit and internal survey were conducted in France in 2011 as part of thediversity policy. Even though 75% of respondents thought that there was no discrimination at Virbac, these surveys helped us to identify areas for improvement, particularly in terms of gender equal opportunity.
Was there nothing in this area prior to this?
Yes, of course there was. Measures had already been established at Virbac such as equal access to training and the same salaries for identical positions. We also have a hiring process that promotes a mix of applicants at interview stage. Furthermore, in order to ensure a better work/life balance, the option to change to part time has been possible since 2006. Finally, all employees are given the same career development opportunities and access to a position, whatever the level.
So what are the areas for improvement?
They primarily concern career development, access to positions of responsibility, actual remuneration and work/life balance. This is why we decided to create an agreement in order to promote equal opportunity between men and women, and do so in both directions! Signed last June by the general management and employee representative bodies, it formalises non-discrimination principles and ensures their application by monitoring specific indicators.
In practical terms, to what does this agreement apply?
In particular, it aims to facilitate a return to work after an absence of longer than six months and where necessary, help employees to update their skills with a training course. Another commitment is to provide identical access to professional training for men and women. Finally, the agreement raises managers’ awareness of the non-discrimination principles in terms of access to training.
Measures have been taken to strengthen the means for correcting salary discrepancies based on gender in the same position with equal skills. To do so, we implemented a process for identifying potential differences in pay coupled with a joint authority responsible for handling any complaints in this area. In addition, on returning from maternity leave, the employee now benefits from a salary increase equivalent to the average increase in their socioprofessional category, less the salary review already received.
The final area?
This is basically a better balance between family responsibilities and professional life. The measures include the automatic application of human ressources processes as part of maternity, parental or adoption leave, limiting the times of work meetings, and maintaining the salary for paternity leave when a child is born.