15 September 2017
At TUC Congress this week, delegates voted unanimously for stronger action on the gender pay gap, describing the current government’s gender pay gap reporting legislation “meaningless”.
Motion 40, moved by the TUC Women’s Committee, reminded delegates that the pay gap now stands at 13.9% for people in full-time employment, and that the situation is even worse for those who suffer double discrimination.
Earlier this year, mandatory gender pay gap reporting came into place, but Vicky Knight, speaking to the motion, was quoted by the Independent as warning that the new legislation is “completely meaningless” because there are no sanctions in place on employers who do not take action against unequal pay.
She said: “Although gender pay gap reporting is welcomed, we are not convinced that a naughty list of rogue employers will have the desired or in fact necessary progress on this issue”.
“So legislation, reporting and enforcement are all required, and without this triumvirate, as experience has shown, anything less is ineffective tokenism,” Knight added.
The Motion also warned that the true extent of the gender pay gap can be disguised by the method used to calculate hourly rates for people on different forms of contracts, and that because only larger organisations are required to report, hundreds of public sector employers are excluded.
Furthermore, budget cuts of 75% to the Equality and Human Rights Commission since 2010 have weakened its ability to oversee the impact of the regulations.
The Motion called for full pay transparency; legal requirements for companies to address pay inequality with serious penalties for those who fail to take action; a free tribunal system for gender pay and post-maternity job issues; a national campaign, research, and local action strategy; and stronger powers for the EHRC, including adequate resources to ensure compliance with reporting regulations, and a requirement to report directly to parliament.
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