Will workplace discrimination be a thing of the past?

The Queen announced in her speech last week, ‘My government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation’.

 

Gender Pay Gap

In April 2016, the UK’s gender pay gap for full-time employees was 9.4%, down from 9.6% from 2015. However, when part-time employees are included, recent figures show that the gap is currently 18.1 %.

One measure the Government has taken to address the Gender Pay Gap is the Gender Pay Reporting Regulation. Now in force, the UK Government hopes the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 will help employers understand the gender pay gap and encourage businesses to consider steps they can take to further reduce any gap and inequality. These provide that large employers must annually calculate and publish certain gender pay information.

The payroll statistics must be calculated from a “snapshot” of information taken on April 5 of each year and then published within 12 months of that date, meaning the first publication date for employers is no later than April 4, 2018. Data must be kept on the website for three years.

Employers with over 250 employees are required to collect data and publish their results on the employer’s website and the Government’s website.

Under the Regulations, an “employee” includes not only workers who are on payroll as employees, but also individuals who contract with the company to personally perform work. Therefore this includes some independent contractors and consultants. Agency workers are also included, but counted by the agency who supplies them.

There are currently no financial penalties for non-compliance but the Government may still “name and shame” the worst offenders on its website. Failure to comply will be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 and fall within the existing enforcement powers of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which include applying to courts to order compliance. Claimants may pursue equal pay claims in the Employment Tribunal as a result of non-compliance.

 

Discrimination

No definitive plans have been announced yet with regard to tackling all other discrimination and nothing more specific to the workplace and in employment law for employers.

A new Mental Health Treatment Bill has been promised with the intention of preventing Mental Health discrimination and injustice.

 

For any assistance with Gender Pay Gap Reporting or discrimination in the workplace please contact our Employment Lawyers on  01892 773970 or email info@lochlaw.co.uk

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