In July 2015 the Government launched an open consultation on the gender pay gap which currently sits at 19.1%. That means that for every £1 earned by a man, a woman will earn 81p.
Even though this is the lowest differential ever recorded it still demonstrates that the gender pay gap in the UK still needs addressing.
Ever since the Equal Pay Act was launched in 1976 it has been illegal for men and women to be paid differently for doing the same work; however this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.
The open consultation aims to task organisations with more than 250 employees to publish gender pay information. The CBI are pushing back on this stating that the current voluntary approach for companies to disclose this information is working well enough and that the numbers of women on corporate boards has actually increased. This remains an area to be debated.
Ultimately the Government is looking for ideas that will encourage women to seek higher status careers, support older working women – where the pay gap is particularly high, and to comprehensively modernise the workplace. A move to more flexible working is being studied as a way of progressing women into higher profile jobs with more earning power and companies are to be encouraged to seek flexible working options when advertising for senior positions.
David Cameron has stated that he wants to eliminate the gender pay gap ‘in a generation’. Historically, UK businesses have been evasive in disclosing the pay gap between their male and female colleagues so it will be interesting to see how the open consultation develops and how this may affect employment law in the future. Interesting times lie ahead.
Mark Reynolds Solicitors specialise in employment law, have you suffered from discrimination or exploitation at your place of work? Contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors on 0800 002 9577 today to speak to our no win, no fee employment law advisors.