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PORTUGAL - Project with Labour Inspection

August 18th 2014

Project ended in October 2012

Recognizing the advantages of providing training in gender equality to labour inspectors, CITE – Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment and ACT - Labour Inspection Authority decided to develop, in partnership, the project "Tools and methodologies to support inspection activities on gender equality at workplace," which aimed to create tools that enable the objective identification of discriminatory practices based on sex at workplaces and promote the acquisition of knowledge appropriate for intervention in this matter.


This project was intended to strengthen the powers of inspection activity in gender equality enabling the strengthening of its ability to identify cases of discrimination based on sex, thus contributing to fulfill the three basic tasks of the labour inspection: ensure the enforcement of labour law, advising employers and workers of the most effective means to achieve these objectives and to draw authorities’ attention to the abuses of non-compliance with the law or deficiencies in it.

In the project the following activities were developed:

  • A training course in gender equality for labour inspectors and a tool to support labour inspection in the identification and characterisation of situations of discrimination based on gender on workplace;
  • 6 workshops for labour inspectors for the analysis of the difficulties in identifying situations of discrimination based on gender;
  • Workshop for the presentation of the results collected in the six reflection workshops held with the labour inspectors, with the participation of some of these inspectors, ACT’s regional branches leaders and members of CITE, namely the social partners;
  • Pilot training course for the use of the tool built to support labour inspection in the identification and characterisation of situations of discrimination based on gender at the workplace;
  • Validation of the tools;
  • Final conference to disseminate the project results.

The project started in April 2011 and ended in October 2012.

Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

The duty bearer of this project is a public administration body, namely the ACT - Labour Inspection Authority.

As a body of the public administration, ACT is subjected to act in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic which enshrine gender equality as a fundamental principle; it also has to promote and implement the principle and culture of legality.

ACT has, among others, the specific obligation of ensuring compliance with legislation regarding equality and non discrimination between women and men at workplaces.

Main objective of the project

This project had as objectives:

  • Enhance the gender dimension in the labour inspection actions;
  • Improve the skills of labour inspection on gender equality;
  • Train and sensitise labour inspectors to the acquisition of specific skills in the identification and characterization of discriminatory situations based on gender in the workplace;
  • Develop tools to support labour inspection activities which allow the identification of discriminatory situations and non compliance of labour legislation on gender equality.


  • Training
  • Cooperating with regulatory bodies

In order to prevent in a more efficient way the gender discrimination in the workplace, CITE realised that it would be very useful and suitable to work more closely with the labour inspection body (which in Portugal has the jurisdiction to inspect the workplaces and verify the compliance with the labour law) and sensitise the inspectors about gender equality.

It was recognised as a gap in the training and the skills of labour inspectors in terms of gender equality, so it was decided to build up a training curriculum and a guide to help inspectors to intervene in this matter.

Key achievements

The most important achievements of this project are:

  • Strengthening the attitude of labour inspectors concerning the principles of gender equality and the way this subject is incorporated in labour inspection activities;
  • Improving the effectiveness of the labour inspection activity in the control of labour practices which are discrimination based on sex and in compliance with labour legislation on gender equality;
  • Setting up a training program on gender equality for the labour inspectors;
  • Providing a tool to support inspection activity in the workplace in order to identify situations of discrimination and breach of labour legislation on gender equality;
  • Promotion of social dialogue and cooperation between labour inspection and social partners regarding gender equality

Key challenges

The most important challenge was to get labour inspectors to incorporate the dimension of gender equality in their inspection practices in a systematic way.

This challange was overcome by discussing their difficulties in identifying situations of discrimination based on gender at the workshops and by involving them in the conception, analysis, testing and validation of the practical guide to support labour inspectors in the identification of discriminatory situations and non compliance of labour legislation on gender equality.