Eliminating pay disparity
What is being done to close the pay gap?
Different countries are employing different strategies to combat the problem of unequal pay
In 2007, the UK Government committed to narrowing the gender pay gap in a Public Service Agreement: Over three years (2008-2011) the Government will prioritize action to reduce the pay gap.
On 6 April 2010, the Equality Bill passed the parliamentary process helping narrow the pay gap and strengthen anti-discrimination legislation.
The Equality Bill includes:
- Obligation for employers with more than 250 staff to report their gender pay gap from 2013, if sufficient progress on reporting has not already been made voluntarily
- Obligation for public bodies with more than 150 employees to report on gender pay as well as other equality data including the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic workers.
- Ban on secrecy clauses that prevent employees discussing their pay with colleagues. Currently, nearly one-quarter of employers stop their staff from discussing their salaries, and the government hopes lifting this will allow more women to challenge unlawful pay.
- Extending the power of employment tribunals: Allow them to make recommendations that will benefit everybody in the workforce and not just the individual. This is intended to stop similar types of discrimination happening again.
Will it help?
Eventhough, the provisions are largely welcomed, many were hoping for tougher action: Despite the obligation to publish their salary disparities, companies will not be required to explain why the gap exists or to show how they will take action to reduce any illegal pay discrimination
"Companies will only be asked to publish the difference in pay between men and women, not to demonstrate how they will end any pay discrimination.", said Jessica Woodroffe, Head of Campaigns at the Fawcett Society. "Given that so little may be required from companies it is all the more disappointing that nothing will happen for another four years."