Advertise all UK jobs with flexible working to tackle pay gap – report
Posted on 15/08/2017 by
Equality and Human Rights Commission outlines strategy that also recommends giving fathers additional paternity leave
The EHRC strategy also looks to eliminate pay disparities faced by disabled people and people from ethnic minorities.
Sweeping employment changes, including advertising all UK jobs with flexible working and giving fathers additional paternity leave, should be made to tackle the gender pay gap, the equalities watchdog has recommended.
Offering flexible hours to all job applicants will help combat pay disparities between men and women, while increasing job opportunities for disabled people, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The recommendations form part of a strategy for tackling pay imbalances across gender, ethnicity and disability, outlined in a report published on Tuesday that shows some of the biggest divisions in salaries across the country. The watchdog’s findings come weeks after the BBC revealed a vast disparity between the pay ratesof its highest-earning men and women.
Caroline Waters, the deputy chair of the EHRC, said: “We need new ideas to bring down pay gaps. While there has been some progress, it has been painfully slow. We need radical change now, otherwise we’ll be having the same conversation for decades to come.”
Britain should follow Scandinavian countries in offering working fathers greater levels of paid paternity leave, the report said, which could prompt more men to request flexible working arrangements. This in turn would help alleviate pressure on women to take lengthier breaks or leave their jobs. Research from the Trades Union Congress shows that by 42, mothers who are in full-time work earn 11% less than women without children who work full-time.
During the general election campaign, Theresa May pledged to tackle the “injustice” of the gender pay gap, pay disparity between ethnic groups and discrimination against disabled people. She argued that companies should be made to disclose how pay rates vary by ethnicity, while ministers have promised to take action on the gender pay gap in the public and private sectors. All employers with more than 250 staff will have to publicly report their gender pay gap from next year.
However, Labour criticised the government earlier this month for being happy to “talk the talk” while failing to take action, after the Guardian found that it would take the civil service more than 37 years to achieve pay equality between men and women, amid widening gaps at one in four government departments over the past decade.
Figures in the EHRC report show that while the gender pay gap is 18.1%, there is also an ethnic minority imbalance of 5.7% and a disability pay gap of 13.6%. While the differences are smaller than between men and women, there are stark contrasts for certain groups.
Male Bangladeshi immigrants had the largest pay gap of 48% compared with white British men, while men with epilepsy earn 40% less than those without the condition. Despite these figures, most female ethnic minority groups had a pay advantage over white British women.
Research from the Resolution Foundation thinktank published earlier this month found that minority ethnic families in the UK earn as much as £8,900 a year less than their white British counterparts.
Men with depression or anxiety have a pay gap of about 30%, while women with mental health problems earn 10% less, according to the EHRC report. The research also shows that women, disabled people and people from ethnic minorities are more likely to be paid less than the “national living wage” of £7.50 per hour for over 25s.
The EHRC said the public sector has a smaller gender pay gap than the private sector, while countries across Europe in which higher proportions of fathers take longer-term parental leave tend to have smaller disparities.
Last month, a string of high-profile female BBC employees, including Clare Balding, Emily Maitlis and Kirsty Wark, wrote to the BBC director general, Tony Hall, demanding action. Hall responded by saying he hoped to close the gap at the corporation before 2020.
Dr Carole Easton, the chief executive of the Young Women’s Trust, welcomed the EHRC’s proposal for more equal childcare responsibility. “Without action, today’s young women face a lifetime of unequal pay,” she said.