New equality bill will force firms to publish pay packets for men and women
UK companies could be forced to reveal the pay inequalities between male and female employees under new plans to make firms publish their statistics.
The ‘name and shame’ scheme being drawn up by the government’s equalities office would force companies to publish their annual accounts, disclosing the number of men and women in specific pay bands. The new bill is set to take effect early this year.
The news has prompted an angry response from many business leaders. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) complained that forcing companies to produce ‘meaningless statistics’ would do little to tackle the underlying causes of inequality, while the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said the response was ‘over-prescriptive’.
According to government figures published last November, men are paid 17.1% more than women in full-time work. The gap widens for part-time work, where the difference is an astounding 36.6%.
The Office of National Statistics figures show that over a lifetime, women in full-time employment will be paid £369,000 less than their male counterparts.
Lady Prosser, deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed the news: ‘It’s enough to give a good picture of which firms are lagging behind when it comes to equality. That’s not a good image to have and those firms will just have to do something about if they don’t want to be embarrassed.’