The Equality Bill is still being drafted and is currently in Parliament. While I don’t like the Bill, I do support reforms to equal pay laws. Who wouldn’t want more?
The statistics are quite shocking, however.
39% of male project managers earn more than PS50k, while only 19% of female managers fall within that salary range (Arras People study February 2009).
EHRC: Women who work full-time make 22.6% less than men.
The European average gender pay gap is 14.5%. The UK trails behind with a 17.1% gap (Fawcett Society).
You want to be rewarded for your hard work on a project just like a male colleague who did a similar job.
You must be careful with the numbers. The Financial Services Inquiry found that the average gap between bonuses was 80% (EHRC.pdf (since deleted)). However, it appears as though it was calculated on a single-figure’ basis. It’s not surprising that there is a large gap between the bonuses of men and women in senior positions, especially since there are many women in administrative and secretarial roles. There are still differences between men and women in the same grades, however.
In 63% of cases, the financial services industry suffers from pay gaps between men at the same grade and women at the next level.
Today is Equal Pay Day. This day marks the day that all this stuff gets some attention thanks to UNISON, the Fawcett Society, and UNISON. With the Equality Bill making its way through the Houses this year, there is a real feeling that things will improve. Some people argue that the Bill is not sufficient. The Equality and Human Rights Commission recommended that employees not be able to discuss pay without being gragged. The Bill protects employees who are victimized for discussing pay.
The EHRC recommended that companies treat gender equality as a business goal, increase support for workers with care responsibilities, and increase transparency in pay. The EHRC recommended that clauses that prevent workers from discussing their pay be banned. This is in addition to the Equality Bill’s proposal to protect employees who are harassed for discussing their pay.
But what it gives with one hand, it takes away with the other: this quarter’s legal update from Kingsley Napley in conjunction with womenintechnology.co.uk says that from April 2011 childcare vouchers will no longer be exempt from National Insurance and tax, for new joiners. They are offering free childcare to 250,000 toddlers. But how far can that go?
A consultation is also underway about the possibility of fathers transferring six months of maternity leave. Only 3 months will be paid at the princely sum PS123.06 per Week.
I think that we won’t be able to take up that offer. It won’t bring us into the Scandinavian shared parental leave system. This means that there will not be any change in the time that women spend away from work to care for their children. Are we going around in circles?