Women now "working for free" until the new year

Gender inequality has been at the heart of the government’s agenda for 2016. However, despite the excitement of Christmas beginning to build, the stark reality of the ever-present gender pay gap is still a concern for many, especially today, on Equal Pay Day. According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK has a gender pay gap of 13.9 per cent for those in full-time roles. This means that from 3.34pm today (Thursday 10 November 2016) women will in effect work for free for the rest of the year.
This is not something that is solely affecting British women. Last month women in Iceland walked out of their workplaces at 2.38pm, 17 per cent earlier than usual, to demonstrate the practical disparity in pay between them and their male counterparts. Similarly, on 7 November 2016, women across France were encouraged to leave work at 4.34pm to protest against the issue with gender pay.
The issue of pay parity is a long-standing one. As far back as 1968 the sewing machinists who stitched the seats for Ford cars campaigned for equal pay by going on strike. On their return to work, the women’s pay increased by seven per cent to 92 per cent of the male pay rate. Many consider that it was this strike that instigated the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970.
Though the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 are not yet in force, the Government Equalities Office envisages that these will be published by the end of the year, with the first pay period for the largest employers’ review beginning in April 2017. Although this legislation has not yet been published, we encourage employers to look at their pay practices in advance so that they can be ready for publication of the data from April 2018.
Meanwhile, for more information on gender pay gap reporting, and the practical steps employers can take in preparation, see our February UK Employment Law Round-up.

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Helena Rozman

About Helena Rozman

Helena has experience in acting for both employees and employers covering both contentious and non-contentious work. Helena's experience includes defending Employment Tribunal claims and engaging in settlement negotiations; advising clients on complex disciplinary matters, exit strategies and large restructuring exercises, including TUPE and redundancy; co-ordinating and responding to data subject access requests; advising on the employment implications on business and asset purchases and outsourcing arrangements; project managing and advising clients on multi-jurisdictional projects with our international offices; drafting settlement agreements for exiting employees; advising on the employment aspects of corporate transactions and undertaking due diligence; and reviewing contracts, company handbooks and policies.

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