New measures to end gender pay gap and promote equal opportunity
The government has announced the latest measures in its campaign to eradicate the gender pay gap within a generation and to provide more opportunities in the workplace for women and ethnic minorities.
Legislation to prevent discrimination and promote equality has been in place for more 40 years but women still earn less on average than men.
Prime Minister David Cameron says discrimination in any form is unacceptable and so the government is now planning new measures including:
• forcing larger employers to publish information about their bonuses for men and women as part of their gender pay gap reporting
• extending plans for gender pay gap reporting beyond private and voluntary sector employers to include the public sector
• working with business to eliminate all-male boards in the FTSE 350.
Mr Cameron has also urged companies and organisations to recruit on a ‘name blind’ basis to address discrimination. The idea is that employers should pledge that names will not be visible on graduate recruitment applications. It follows research that showed that applicants with white sounding names are twice as likely to get job interviews as people with ethnic sounding names.
Several organisations including the NHS, Virgin Money and HSBC have already pledged to support the scheme.
The announcements are part of wider plans to help women and ethnic minority groups achieve greater equality both in pay and workplace opportunities.
Mr Cameron said: “You can’t have true opportunity without equality. There is no place for a pay gap in today’s society and we are delivering on our promises to address it.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Management Institute, Ann Francke, said: “One of the biggest drivers of gender pay discrepancy, especially at senior levels, is the bonus gap. Bonuses are also where gender bias can creep in easily as they are amongst the least transparent forms of pay.
“There’s a tendency to reward those in our own image or to think that because men may be the ‘main breadwinners’ they deserve higher bonuses. And men often negotiate harder or trumpet their achievements more readily.
“The government’s new reporting legislation is a welcome step forward and will be good news for business. Clearer employee data, improved recruitment and a reinvigorated focus on business culture will help unblock the talent pipeline and support more women to become senior managers and leaders.”
The involvement of Mr Cameron and other senior ministers shows the importance the government is placing on equal pay and equal opportunities. Employers may wish to ensure their employment policies are up to date and in tune with modern thinking.
The government will publish more details about their proposals over the coming months. We shall keep clients informed of developments.
Please contact Jackie Cuneen if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.