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Warning to employers not to ignore gender and ethnicity pay gaps as new Equal Pay Bill proposed

If it becomes law the new bill would require more employers to comply with gender pay gap reporting and report on ethnicity pay gaps for the first time. It could also give female and BME employees the right to know what their male or non BME colleagues are paid.

The Equal Pay (Information and Claims) Bill proposes to:

  • Require employers with 100 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap data;
  • Require employers with 100 or more employees to publish their ethnicity pay gap data;
  • Allow employees to request the pay data of a comparator if they believe there is a gap, and create a right to equal pay where a “single source” can address it; and
  • Reform the remedies and time limits relating to equal pay.

When introducing the Bill, its sponsor Stella Creasy MP (Labour) said the Bill seeks to “break the culture of discrimination and culture of secrecy” behind unequal pay, and argued greater transparency was the way to do so. The Bill comes after this year’s gender pay gap reporting deadline was postponed due to the pandemic.

The Bill has cross-party support, but it is uncertain whether the Bill has the support of the Government it will need to become law. The second reading for this Bill is due to take place on 13 November 2020.

“Employers with 100 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap data”

What employers should do now

More data seems to be coming though on the disproportionate effect of the coronavirus pandemic on women and BME workers. Employers must take care not to unlawfully discriminate against groups of female or BME employees when deciding where cuts in pay or hours must fall. Doing some could result in employment tribunal equal pay or other types of discrimination claims as well as some uncomfortable statistics when pay gap reporting resumes.

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