Leading Employment Lawyer Says Equal Pay Is A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’
The Government has said today that companies in the private and voluntary sectors with more than 250 employees will in the future have to publish gender pay gap information.
To coincide with the announcement, a consultation paper on the detail of the regulations to be made under the Equality Act 2010 has also been launched.
The consultation document, ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap’, seeks views on the level of detail of gender pay gap information that should be required. Amongst other things, it asks whether the information should be the overall difference between the average earnings of men and women as a percentage of men's earnings, or whether it should be broken down by full-time and part-time employees, or by grade or job type.
At present the gender pay gap stands at 19.1% and it is expected that 10 million workers across the country will be covered by the new rules.
Commenting on the move, Prime Minister David Cameron said it will "cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women's wages up".
Expert Opinion“This issue of gender pay is a ticking time bomb for the private sector and one that it cannot afford to ignore any longer. It is now 40 years since the Equal Pay Act came into force, but in the private sector the number of claims has remained low despite all of the statistics pointing to significant ongoing differences in pay between men and women.
"A lot has been done to tackle the issue in the public sector, but much less in the private sector. Claimant lawyers are starting to target some large employers in the private sector and we are now seeing some claims coming through. Publishing equal pay information will push the issue of pay equality up the agenda and is likely to result in more claims. It is important that businesses engage with the consultation process to ensure their views are heard.” Kirsty Ayre - Partner
The consultation closes on 6 September 2015.