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Equality Bill

Volume 711: debated on Thursday 4 June 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend the regulations to be made under clause 73 of the Equality Bill to require employers to publish information sufficient to identify gender pay gaps at different grades within undertakings with sufficient detail to identify the existence of prima facie direct or indirect sex discrimination in pay within those undertakings. [HL3849]

The Government's aim is for employers regularly to publish information about what they pay their male and female employees on a voluntary basis. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is bringing employers and unions together to recommend how gender pay reporting should operate in practice and in particular the measures that employers should be encouraged to report on. If sufficient progress has not been made by 2013 in the voluntary reporting, we will prepare regulations to require reporting of specified information. It is too early to say what any regulations which may be made under clause 73 will prescribe.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the justification for excluding from the scope of clause 73 of the Equality Bill employers who have fewer than 250 employees. [HL3850]

We want to maximise the number of employees whose employers publish gender-based information about their pay, while avoiding the imposition of excessive burdens on business. We are therefore proposing coverage of larger employers who between them employ around 50 per cent of the workforce outside the public sector, and who should be best able to produce and publish information on gender pay. Small and medium-sized employers with fewer than 250 employees are of course free to publish gender pay information, and we would strongly encourage them to do so.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government having regard to the obligations imposed upon employers under the Equal Pay Act 1970 as amended to secure equal pay for women and men without sex discrimination, what is the justification for deferring the exercise of the power to make regulations under clause 73 of the Equality Bill until 2013. [HL3851]

All employers are bound by the Equal Pay Act 1970, and will continue to be bound by their successor provisions in the Equality Bill. Not all differences in pay between women and men are as a result of failure to comply with the Equal Pay Act. The voluntary disclosure regime which is proposed, supported by the power in Clause 73 is aimed at giving people the ability address the causes of any gender pay gap in their organisations whatever they might be.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the power proposed in clause 73 of the Equality Bill and regulations made thereunder would have to be interpreted and applied so as to comply with the obligations imposed by European Union equal pay legislation. [HL3902]

Clause 73 is not part of the UK's scheme for implementing Article 141 of the Treaty of Rome or the Recast Directive (Council Directive 2006154/EC), neither of which contains obligations to require this kind of disclosure, so no question requiring such an interpretation to be made should arise.