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By signing the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement, Ukraine has undertaken a number of commitments to amend the legislation that regulates business area. The main purpose of these innovations is to bring Ukrainian legal system in line with EU standards. One important aspect is the prohibition of discrimination in employment. In particular, Annex 39 of the Association Agreement defines six directives of the EU that Ukraine should integrate into its national legislation within four years. These guidelines aimed at banning discrimination and obtaining gender equality in the workplace through the implementation of a number of instruments. To fulfill EU criteria, a Western model of combating discrimination, a policy of equality (non-discrimination policy), was adapted in Ukraine.
But it's not only about the fulfillment of obligations to the EU. The equality policy has already become a part of corporate culture for most Western companies and has been a reliable means of protecting companies from expensive legal fees. And if European companies have been implementing such policies for decades, Ukraine has had it only for four years. In order to help Ukrainian companies to adapt quickly, NGO "Fulcrum UA" worked out some tips which are to implement the equality policy quickly and get extra bonuses out of it.
Thus, the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) was born, the one that is a national research on corporate policies, rules and practices of private companies to prohibit discrimination in the workplace and support equality and diversity.
"This project gives an opportunity for businesses to understand that equality is quite a useful thing. It means creating of comfortable labor conditions which make it more effective. And it's not about obligations to something but rather about obtaining some preferences. I think nowadays the role of private sector and business is vital, so the Index is a good tool for implementing European practices of doing business in Ukraine", says Roman Romanov, Human Rights and Justice Program Initiative Director at the International Renaissance Foundation.
On April 2018, NGO "Fulcrum UA" in partnership with the National Assembly of the Disabled of Ukraine and NGO Social Action with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation and presented Ukrainian Corporate Equality Index 2017.
Companies became of the Index have demonstrated the most progressive policy of equality and application of anti-discrimination practices. It should be noted that each company was assessed in 30 criteria and could score 100 points maximum.
115 companies took part in Index 2017. Compared to the first publication, the number of participants of the research has been more than doubled. 76 companies scored more than 50 points and were in the open rating.
Tymur Levchuk, Executive Director of NGO Fulcrum UA summarizes, The III Corporate Equality Index 2017 has showed two main tendencies: the first one is that businesses are ready to be involved into combating discrimination in the workplace, since we've observed the number of participants has been more than doubled; the second is that businesses are ready to change and improve internal procedures / policies, as more than 5% of companies that participated in the II Equality Index substantially improved their results.