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DRAFT
LAW ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

I. BASIC PROVISIONS

The Goal and Purpose of the Law
Article 1
(1) The common grounds for the improvement and promotion of the status of women and the establishment of equal opportunities of women and men in the political, economical, social, educational fields and other fields of social life (hereinafter referred to as: equal opportunities) are determined with this Law.

(2) The establishment of equal opportunities is a responsibility of the entire society and represents an elimination of obstacles for the establishment of equality between women and men, amongst other things, through the prevention and elimination of unequal treatment of women and men and the establishment of conditions for introducing equal representation of both genders in all fields of social life.

(3) In order to achieve the goal, this Law determines basic and special measures for the establishment of equal opportunities, as well as, determination of authorities, tasks and responsibilities of accountable subjects.

(4) In order to achieve the goal of this Law, questions of meaning to the establishment of equal opportunities can be regulated by law and by other regulations.

Cooperation between the Associations of Employers, the Trade Union and the Non-Governmental Organizations
Article 2
The Government of the Republic of Macedonia (hereinafter referred to as: the Government), the bodies of state administration, and the bodies of the units of local self-government are obliged to cooperate with the Associations of employers, the Trade Union and the Non-Governmental Organizations that are active in the field of equal opportunities, in order to obtain suggestions and measures to achieve the aim of this Law.

II. DEFINITION OF TERMS

Equal Opportunities
Article 3
Equal opportunities represents the equal participation of women and men in all areas of public and private life, equal status, equal treatment in the achievement of all rights and in the development of their individual potentials through which they contribute to social development, as well as, equal benefits from the results of that development.

Equal treatment of women and men
Article 4
(1) Equal treatment of women and men represents the absence of direct and indirect discrimination based on gender, in accordance with this or other law.

(2) Every differentiation, use or limitation based on gender, which results in endangering or disabling the fulfillment or the protection of human freedoms and rights represents discrimination.

(3) Direct discrimination exists when acts or actions of certain subjects depending on gender create unequal treatment in same or similar situations in the fulfillment, respect and protection of human rights and liberties.

(4) Indirect discrimination exists if regulations, standards or actions which formally prescribe for equal opportunities, are enforced depending of gender and result to unequal treatment of persons of different gender, except if it is of interest and necessary for obtaining special protection or if it is caused by objective conditions and circumstances that are not in connection with gender.

Harassment and Sexual Harassment
Article 5
(1) Harassment, and especially sexual harassment, which affect the dignity and the freedoms and rights represent discrimination in the sense of this law.

(2) Any kind of harassment, i.e., unsuitable, immoral or indecent action, which represents a violation of personal dignity and creates fear, intolerance, or acts humiliating and offending, as well as, extortion with abuse of position and authority is considered as discrimination in the sense of Paragraph 1 of this Article. 

(3) Any verbal or non-verbal, i.e., physical conduct of sexual character, which represents a violation of personal dignity and creates fear, intolerance, or acts humiliating and offending, as well as, extortion with abuse of position and authority is considered as discrimination in the sense of Paragraph 1 of this Article.

Basic Measures
Article 6
(1) Basic measures are measures of normative and other nature with which the discrimination based on gender is prohibited in the special areas regulated by law, or special conduct required for the achievement of equal treatment of women and men, as well as, sanctions determined in case of violation of the prohibitions or requests.

(2) Basic measures are, also, measures connected with the activities of the Government, the state administration bodies, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy-The Sector for Equal Opportunities, the bodies of the units of local self-government, the legal entities which perform tasks in the form of public authorities, the non-governmental organizations and foundations, the public companies, the educational institutions, the institutions from the field of social protections, the medical institutions, the political parties and the media, aimed towards the establishment of equal opportunities from the aspect of informing the individual and the public, programs of activities and development strategies for special areas of social life, determined in the National Action Plan for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men, and other programs and political documents.

Special Measures
Article 7
(1) Special measures are temporary measures intended for establishing equal opportunities of women and men, as well as the promotion of equal opportunities in special areas of social life, in which there is a determined unequal representation of women and men, or unequal status of persons of the same gender.

(2) The unequal representation, from Paragraph 1 of this Article, exists when the participation of one gender in one special area of social life or in a part of that area is less than 40%.

(3) The special measures should contribute to the elimination of objective obstacles which lead to unequal representation of women and men, or unequal status between persons of one gender in regards to persons of the other gender, as well as, to give a special contribution in the form of stimulation of the less represented gender or to the unequal status based on gender. These stimulations have to be justified and proportionate to the aims of the special measures.

(4) The special measures, amongst other things, include:

- positive measures which give priority, in case of unequal fulfillment of prescribed standards and conditions, to persons of the gender which is less represented or which have had unequal status, until the equal representation is achieved;
- encouraging measures which insure special gains or the introduction of special stimulations with the aim of eliminating unequal representation of women and men or the unequal status based on gender; and
- programmatic measures for awareness-raising, organizing activities and preparing and carrying out action plans for stimulation and promotion of equal opportunities. 

Adopting Positive Measures
Article 8
(1) The special measures from Article 7 of this Law have the function to introduce positive measures which are determined in the regulations of the political, economical, social, educational areas and in the other areas of social life.

(2) The positive measures from Article 1 of this Paragraph are determined by the bodies of state administration, in accordance with the organizational structure and the methodology of work, by other bodies in the public sector, by economical subject, political parties and non-governmental organizations.

(3) The subjects from Paragraph 2 of this Article are obliged to undertake positive measures in the frameworks of the periodic plans for the promotion and introduction of equal opportunities, based on analysis of the status of women and men in the framework of their field of action.

(4) The reasons for the adoption of the positive measures, the goals which are to be achieved through these measures, the follow-up methodology, the supervision of the implementation and the termination of implementation of the measures, are stated in the periodic plans.

(5) The periodic plans from Paragraph 4 of this Article and the reports are submitted to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy-Sector for Equal Opportunities.

Adoption of Encouraging and Programmatic Measures
Article 9
The subjects of Article 8, Paragraph 2 of this Law adopt encouraging and programmatic measures in the framework of their authority and national programs in accordance with this Law, as well as, in accordance with the organizational structure and the methodology of work.

Discrimination in the Areas of Social Life
Article 10
(1) The discrimination in the areas of employment and labor, education, social security, culture, sport, in the public of the private sector is prohibited in accordance with this or other Law.

(2) The measures prescribed with the special laws and the provisions of the special laws which relate to the protection of women on work, and especially the provisions on the protection of pregnant women and women in their reproductive period, as well as the provisions which relate to the special rights of parents, adopters and guardians, are not considered as discrimination, nor they may be considered as basis for discrimination.

Education and Professional Training for the Establishment of Equal Opportunities
Article 11
(1) The education for the establishment of equal opportunities represents an integral part of the system of education and professional training, which has to obtain the readiness of both genders for active and equal participation in all areas of social life.

(2) The bodies of state administration, authorized for performing the tasks in the field of education and labor, the institutions and other bodies authorized for education and professional training are obliged to obtain equal treatment of women and men, especially in relation to the access of education.

(3) Mechanisms for elimination of prejudices and stereotypes are to be obtained in the process of preparing, adopting and conducting public programs for education or professional training, in the preparation of schoolbooks and school tools, and in the process of introduction of organizational innovations and modifications of pedagogical and andragogical methods.

(4) The subjects from Paragraph 2 of this Article are obliged to introduce a special system of measures for elimination of unequal treatment of women and men, in the frameworks of their authority.

Political Parties
Article 12
(1) The political parties are obliged to adopt a Plan on the Equal Opportunities on every four years, in which they will determine the methods and measures for promotion of equal representation of women and men in the bodies of the parties, on the candidates lists for elections in the units of local self-government, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia and for the elections of the President of the Republic of Macedonia.

(2) The political parties from Paragraph 1 of this Article, are obliged to submit their Plan for Equal Opportunities to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy-Sector for Equal Opportunities, after it has been adopted.

The Media
Article 13
(1) The Media is responsible to contribute to the development and awareness-raising of equal opportunities of women and men, the equal representation and participation of both genders in the creation of programmatic concepts, through their programmatic concepts.

(2) Public broadcasting and presentation of persons in the media in an offending, degrading or humiliating manner, based on gender, is prohibited.

Statistical Data
Article 14
(1) Statistical data which is gathered, recorded and edited in the bodies of the central government, the bodies of the units of local self-government, the legal entities which perform tasks in the form of public authorities, the non-governmental organizations and foundations, the public companies, the educational institutions, the institutions in the field of social protection, the medical institutions, the political parties, the public media, the trade companies, and in other institutions and subject, has to be presented according to gender affiliation.

(2) The statistical data from Paragraph 1 of this Article is submitted to the State Statistical Office and is open to the public.


III. SUBJECTS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TASKS, THEIR AUTHORITIES AND OBLIGATIONS

The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia
Article 15
(1) The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia (hereinafter referred to as: the Assembly) enacts the National Action Plan on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men.

(2) In the process of election of its working bodies, and in the process of determination of its delegations, the Assembly is obliged to respect the principle of equal representation of women and men.

(3) The Assembly forms a Commission on Equal Opportunities, as a permanent working body, and its scope of action is determined by the Rulebook of the Assembly.

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia
Article 16
(1) The Government and the bodies of state administration ensure the promotion and establishment of equal opportunities and the achievement of the goals of this Law, in the frameworks of their authority, through facilities adequate to the basic and special measures determined by this Law.

(2) The Government and the bodies of state administration are obliged to respect the principle of equal representation of women and men in the process of comprising their working bodies and delegations, the consultative and coordinative bodies and other bodies, as well as in the process of appointing governmental representatives in public companies and institutions.

(3) The bodies of state administration are obliged to submit for an opinion all materials which regulate or manage issues of relevance to the achievement of the goal of this law, to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy-Sector for Equal Opportunities, before they submit them to the Government for review, determination, i.e. enactment.

Coordinators in the Bodies of State Administration
Article 17
(1) In the frameworks of their authority, the bodies of state administration are obliged to determine an official person – a Coordinator, which will coordinate the tasks in the authority of the Ministry, for the establishment of equal opportunities of women and men.

(2) The Coordinator from Paragraph 1 of this Article is responsible for the execution of the tasks that are in the authority of the Ministry for the establishment of equal opportunities of women and men, in the sense of this law, and is also obliged to cooperate with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy-Sector for Equal Opportunities.

(3) The Coordinator from Paragraph 1 of this Article is obliged to submit a report on his work to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy-Sector for Equal Opportunities, once in a year.

Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Sector for Equal Opportunities
Article 18
(1) For the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the provisions of this and other laws and regulations that regulate issues from the field of the establishment of equal opportunities, a Sector for Equal Opportunities (hereinafter referred to as: the Sector) is formed within the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.

Authority, tasks and obligations of the Sector for Equal Opportunities
Article 19
(1) The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – the Sector has the following authority, tasks and obligation in the field of the establishment of equal opportunities:

- The promotion of the status of women in all areas of social life;

- Introduction of the principle of equal opportunities in the main flows of reorganization, promotion, development and evaluation of political processes in all levels and stages, both on the national and local level;

- Grants the permission for implementation of positive measures in special fields of social life;

- Raises initiatives in front of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, or in front of the Ministries, for enacting or for changing and modifying laws and other legislation in the field of the establishment of equal opportunities, as well as the adoption of other measures;

- Drafts and proposes additions (revisions) of the National Action Plan for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men, and follows its implementation;

- Follows the implementation of international treaties that relate to equal opportunities and to the promotion of the status of women;

- Prepares national reports on the fulfillment of international obligations by the Republic of Macedonia in the field of equal opportunities;

- Prepares analysis, reports and other documents related to equal opportunities;

- Cooperates with the Coordinator appointed in the bodies of state administration, as well as with the Coordinator and the Commission on Equal Opportunities formed in the units of local self-government;

- Cooperates with non-governmental organizations that are active in the field of equal opportunities;

- Submits a report to the Government on the activities, on yearly basis, no later than the end of April, for the previous year.

(2) The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – The Sector gives an opinion on the periodical plans, mentioned in Article 8, Paragraph 3 of this Law, if the introduction of positive measures is justified and in accordance to Article 7 of this Law.

(3) The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – The Sector monitors the implementation of positive measures in the areas in which they have been introduced.

(4) The bodies which introduced positive measures are obliged to submit a report on the implementation of measures, in accordance to the Action Plan.

(5) The Sector gives recommendations to the bodies, mentioned in Article 8, Paragraph 2 of this Law, on the introduction of positive measures in the areas of social life in which there is an unequal representation of women and men, or in which there is unequal status of persons of one of the genders.

The Ombudsman
Article 20
(1) The Ombudsman ensures the realization of the principle of equal opportunities and the legal protection of equal opportunities of women and men, in accordance with his authority determined by Law.

The Units of Local Self-Government
Article 21
(1) For the purpose of achieving the goals of this Law, and in the frameworks of their authority, the units of local self-government are obliged to determine and promote the equal opportunities and to take into consideration the principle of equality among the genders in the process of adopting measures and activities which are needed to establish the principle of equal opportunities.

(2) The units of local self-government are obliged to form a Commission on Equal Opportunities and to appoint a Coordinator for Equal Opportunities which will participate in the preparation and implementation of the National Action Plan on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men, mentioned in Article 22 of this Law, in the part that relates to the units of local self-government, propose measures and activities for the establishment of equal opportunities, have a consultative role in proposing solutions for achieving the goals of this Law. In the implementation of these responsibilities, the Commission on Equal Opportunities and the Coordination on Equal Opportunities, cooperate with the Sector.

(3) The Commission on Equal Opportunities is formed as a permanent body, with a Decision of the Council of the unit of local self-government, and its composition, authority, tasks, and responsibilities are determined with the Statutes of the unit of local self-government.

(4) In the process of enacting development plans and other acts and decisions, the bodies of the units of local self-government are obliged to review and to take into consideration the measures and activities proposed by the Commission on Equal Opportunities and the Coordinator on Equal Opportunities.

(5) The Commission on Equal Opportunities, mention in Paragraph 2 of this Article, is obliged to submit a report on its work to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Sector on Equal Opportunities, at leas once a year.


IV. NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES OF WOMEN AND MEN (NAPEO)

Article 22
(1) The Government submits a National Action Plan on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men (hereinafter referred to as: the Action Plan) to the Assembly, based on the suggestions made by the bodies of state administration, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Sector on Equal Opportunities, the bodies of the units of local self-government, the associations of employers, the trade union, the non-governmental organization and other organization and individual experts.

(2) The Action Plan contains the basic principles on equal opportunities, in accordance with the content of the long-term programmatic documents, and especially with:

- The guidelines and measures for the accomplishment of the goals in the special areas of social life, and before all in the areas of employment, social and medical security, education, family relations, violence over women, and the representation of both genders in public life;

- The responsibility for implementing the measures for achievement of the goals;

- The content, the authorized bodies and persons responsible for the preparation and implementation of periodic plans which are in function to implement the tasks of the Action Plan in the special areas of social life (hereinafter referred to as: the period plans);

- The data which is gathered, processed, and is linked, recorded, analyzed and presented separately according to gender structure, all in the framework of the activities of the State Statistical Office;

- The methodology of monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Action Plan;

- The funds necessary for the implementation of the measures of the Action Plan, the sources and the manners of securing of these funds.

Periodic Plans for the Implementation of the Action Plan
Article 23
(1) The Periodic Plan for the implementation of the Action Plan is an act in which the planned activities for the special areas of social life are determined for a period of two years.

(2) The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – the Sector on Equal Opportunities is obliged to prepare a Draft of the Periodic Plan, according to the suggestions made by the bodies of state administration contained in the reports from the previous two-year period, and to submit it to the Government for adoption.

(3) The bodies of state administration are obliged to submit the reports from Paragraph 2 of this Article to the Sector, not later than two months after the date of expiry of the previous Periodic Plan.

(4) The Government submits a report to the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia on the implemented measures and activities from the Action Plan.


V. PENAL PROVISIONS

Article 24
(1) Legal entities which perform public authorities, the units of local self-government, the commercial subjects, the political parties and the citizen associations, which shall not submit for approval the periodic plans for the establishment and promotion of equal opportunities to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Sector for Equal Opportunities, before the beginning of the implementation of the positive measures from Article 7 of this Law, shall be punished for an offense with a fine from 100,000 to 200,000 denars.

(2)  The responsible person from the bodies mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this Article, shall be punished for an offense with a fine from 10,000 to 15,000 denars.

Article 25
(1) The political party which will not adopt a Plan on Equal Opportunities shall be punished for an offense with a fine from 200,000 to 300,000 denars.

(2) The responsible person in the political party mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this Article, shall be punished for an offense with a fine from 15,000 to 25,000 denars.

Article 26
(1) The bodies of the units of local self-government which will not appoint a Coordinator for Equal Opportunities, in accordance to the obligation from Article 17, Paragraph 1 of this Law, shall be punished for an offense with a fine from 100,000 to 200,000 denars.

(2) The responsible person in the bodies of the units of local self-government, mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this Article, shall be punished for an offense with a fine from 10,000 to 15,000 denars.


VI. FINAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Article 24
(1) The unaligned laws in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as the other adequate regulations and acts, will be aligned with the provisions of this Law, in a period of one year from the day of coming into effect of this Law.

(2) The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy forms a Sector on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men in a period of six months from the day of coming into effect of this Law.

(3) The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia forms a Commission on Equal Opportunities as a permanent working body, in a period of six months from the day of coming into effect of this Law.

(4) The bodies of state administration appoint a Coordinator, from Article 14 of this Law, in a period of three months from the day of coming into effect of this Law.

(5) The units of local self-government form a Commission on Equal Opportunities and appoint a Coordinator on Equal Opportunities, in a period of six months from the day of coming into effect of this Law.

(6) The authorized bodies from Article 8, Paragraph 2 of this Law, are obliged to prepare an analysis and to submit action plans with special measures to the Sector, in a period of one year from the day of coming into effect of this Law.

(7) The authorized bodies from Article 14 of this law, are obliged to align their forms for statistical data, in a period of one year from the day of coming into effect of this Law.

Article 28
This Law shall come into effect on the eighth day from the publishing in the “Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia.”