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Today is Equal Pay Day

According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings by the Office for National Statistics, the pay gap for men and women working full-time is 14.2%.  In a recent report gender equality charity the Fawcett Society claims that at the current rate of progress it will take more than 50 years to close the gap.

 

The government pledged recently to do more to bring women’s pay in line with men’s, with David Cameron vowing to ‘close the pay gap in a generation’, but the Fawcett Society believes the government will not achieve its aim without more being done to speed up the pace of change. As well as making recommendations about what the government and business can do to help bring about change, the Fawcett Society is also pointing out that individuals need to engage with their employers on equal pay issues to make a difference.

 

The Fawcett Society is also recommending employers advertise jobs at all levels in their organisation as flexible, part-time or a job share unless there is a strong business case not to, support women to progress to higher paid jobs, tackle unconscious bias and use targets or quotas to measure progress and focus minds.  It also recommends that more businesses become Living Wage employers.  Over 60% of those earning less than the Living Wage are women.

 

For the government Fawcett Society recommends that it should ensure employers publish their gender pay gap, that they should also be required to show how they calculated it and commit to an action plan to put it right.  Alongside this they argue that there must be meaningful penalties for those who do not comply. They also recommend the government should:

 

  • Create targets for apprenticeships and aim for 50:50 recruitment. Apprenticeships are publicly funded but at the moment the ones in the highest paid sectors remain dominated by men. There is a £2,000 gender pay gap at apprenticeship level
  • On shared parental leave, a dedicated period of leave for dads paid closer to replacement earnings rate should be introduced
  • Build on the extension of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds by investing in our childcare infrastructure so that we have affordable, flexible and high quality care for children of all ages, enabling more families to balance work and care
  • Give women access to justice – remove harmful employment tribunal fees currently set at £1,200 which prevent women bringing equal pay claims and which have resulted in an 80% drop in tribunal discrimination claims

 

For more information on the gender pay gap go to www.fawcettsociety.org.uk