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The equality of parenting

In the week after Father’s Day in the UK, insurance provider Aviva commissioned a report into Shared Parental Leave (SPL) polling 1,000 fathers and 1,000 mothers with children aged 16 and under nationwide. Despite the legislation on SPL being in force since 2015 and the recent government campaign “Share the Joy”, intended to raise awareness (which we talked about here), half of working fathers haven’t heard of SPL. This is particularly disappointing as nine out of 10 parents are reported as believing mums and dads should be given equal parental leave.

The results of the report tell us that 86 per cent of fathers would have liked to take more time off at the arrival of their children, but felt restricted by financial factors and employer constraints. The report’s authors at Aviva commit to an equal parental leave policy entitling male and female employees to 26 weeks each on full basic pay on the arrival of a child. However, not all employers have equalised their offering.

In the “2018 Modern Families Index Summary Report”, Working Families (the UK’s work-life balance charity) recommends “day one” parental and paternity leave rights in new employment, as well as properly paid, extended, standalone paternity leave for fathers, in an effort to tackle gendered assumptions about who works and who cares for children. Linking this to improving the gender pay gap, Working Families suggests that improved paternity leave will mean that fathers will be more likely to use it and thereafter be more involved in their children’s care throughout their life, having a knock-on effect on the participation and remuneration of women in the workforce.

Despite these findings the government has, regrettably, recently announced that, whilst it accepts the need for change in this area, calls by the Women and Equalities Committee for new measures on paternity leave and pay, SPL and driving cultural change have been roundly rejected. The Chair of the Committee, Maria Miller MP, said: “It is surprising that the government’s response does not refer to its own recently published research on the gender pay gap which found that if men and women took similar amounts of unpaid family leave the gender pay gap would decrease by 13 per cent … we will continue to press for reform.”

If you need any advice around family-friendly working policies and/or improving your organisation’s gender pay gap, please get in touch with your contact at Dentons.

 

The equality of parenting

All workers to benefit from the right to an itemized payslip

An Order for an amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) has now been made. The Order will grant every worker the right to an itemised pay statement from 6 April 2019.
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All workers to benefit from the right to an itemized payslip

Taylor Review – update

The House of Commons Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees (the Committees) made recommendations in November 2017 for addressing the issues raised in the Taylor Review. These included:
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Taylor Review – update

Vento bands increase announced

The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and Scotland have issued new guidance updating the bands of awards for “injury to feelings”, in the event that employees suffer from discrimination in the workplace.

The compensation available for injury to feelings is divided into four categories, depending on the seriousness of the discrimination that occurred, known as the Vento bands. The increased Vento bands, which will be effective for any claims issued on or after 6 April 2018, will be as follows: £900 to £8,600 for less serious cases (the lower band), £8,600 to £25,700 for serious cases (the middle band) and £25,700 to £42,900 for the most serious cases (the upper band). Compensation over £42,900 can be awarded by the Employment Tribunal in exceptional cases.

This increase should act as a reminder for employers to make sure that they are taking all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination in the workplace, including implementing up-to-date equal opportunities and anti-bullying and harassment policies, and carrying out regular diversity training.

Vento bands increase announced

New report on sexual harassment by the Equalities & Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have published new recommendations, 'turning the tables: ending sexual harassment at work', having found that existing obligations and guidance for employers are not protecting workers from sexual harassment. This article provides a brief overview of the ECHR objectives and highlights some of the more notable recommendations.
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New report on sexual harassment by the Equalities & Human Rights Commission

Shared Parental Leave for self-employed contractors

The Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Extension) Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 21 February 2018 by Tracy Brabin MP. If passed, the Bill would extend Shared Parental Leave (SPL) rights to self-employed contractors by allowing them to share maternity allowance (currently available to self-employed mothers instead of statutory maternity pay) in the same way employed parents share SPL pay. The Bill aims to create parity between the traditionally employed and the self-employed in their ability to share SPL with their spouse or partner.
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Shared Parental Leave for self-employed contractors

Ethnic Diversity Targets

Two of Britain's biggest banks (Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland) have publicly declared ethnic diversity targets for senior management roles and the workforce as a whole.
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Ethnic Diversity Targets

Dress Codes in the Workplace

Headlines on dress codes are becoming more frequent and certainly catch the eye with the BBC's "Can an employer demand that you go to work naked?" being no exception! The question raises a fair point – to what extent can employers dictate what its workforce wear to work?
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Dress Codes in the Workplace

National Minimum Wage Increase

Workers aged over 25 will receive an inflation-busting increase of 33p an hour in their national minimum wage. An above-inflation pay rise of 4.4 per cent starting April 2018 is over the 3 per cent rate of inflation which is in place at the moment. Following this, full-time workers will receive a £600 annual increase.
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National Minimum Wage Increase

Pay cap lift for police and prison officers

The 1% cap on public sector pay rises in England and Wales (which came into force in 2010) is to be lifted. The first professions to benefit will be police officers and prison officers. The government has announced that for the 2017/2018 FY police officers will receive a 1% pay rise plus a 1% bonus and prison officers will get a 1.7% rise, both of which will be funded from existing departmental budgets.
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Pay cap lift for police and prison officers