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Gender Pay Gap

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Minister for Women what measures have been taken to address the pay gap between men and women; and if she will make a statement. [131312]

The Government are taking action to tackle the complex factors behind the pay gap, including promoting voluntary pay reviews and good practice on equal pay. We have set a target for pay reviews and are working in partnership with businesses and trade unions, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and Opportunity Now towards ensuring that 35 per cent. of large companies have done pay reviews by 2006. We provided the EOC with £100,000 to produce a toolkit to help employers conduct pay reviews and provided trade unions with additional funding to train over 400 representatives in equal pay issues. The Government have committed all civil service Departments and agencies to review their pay systems and produce action plans to close any equal pay gaps, 83 action plans have been submitted, representing 98 per cent. of the civil service. We are also taking steps to widen women's opportunities in the labour market. The Employment Act 2002 introduced measures to help parents maintain links with the world of work and better balance their work and home lives. These will help women return to the labour market and have a positive impact on the pay gap. The Act also introduced an equal pay questionnaire that will make it easier to tackle pay discrimination in the workplace.