Belgian Mandatory Quota
All Public Companies
In September of 2011, Belgium adopted the “Act to amend the Act of 21 March 1991 for reform of certain public economic enterprises, public companies and the law of 19 April 2002 on the rationalization of the operation and management of the National Lottery in order to ensure the presence of women on the board of directors of publicly listed companies and the National Lottery” (the “Law”).
The Law, which became effective in 2012, requires that Belgium’s largest publicly traded companies and certain state-owned or -controlled entities achieve gender parity by requiring that at least one-third of the entity’s directors be of a different gender than other members of the board.
Companies listed in a regulated market had until fiscal year 2017 to comply, and smaller companies (such as those with less than 250 employees and with lower net sales or balance sheet totals) have until fiscal year 2019.
The quotas became immediately effective after the law’s publishing for state-owned entities.
Functionally, this requires at least one-third of each board to be comprised of women. Under the Law, the legislative chambers will evaluate the effectiveness of the law in 2023 (the twelfth fiscal year after publication).
For state-owned or -controlled entities, the Law provides for certain procedures if the quota is not met. For example, if the board is not composed of at least one-third women, the next appointed director must be a woman. Any appointment made in violation of this Law is void. Unlike the financial penalties imposed on publicly-listed companies (see below), the law does not provide for monetary sanctions for state-owned enterprises or the National Lottery.