Employment solicitors might see increase in wage discrimination cases

On May the 29th, 2010, the Equality and Human Rights Commission celebrated the 40 year anniversary of the Equal pay Act. Four decades later, has the situation really improved?

According to the Office of National Statistics, female workers get paid 16.4% less than their male counterparts, on average. In some sectors, such as finance, the gap is even worse.

Jean Irvine, the ECHR commissioner remarked that “Employers need pay systems that are both transparent and fair. Most employers should be able to measure their own pay gap, particularly those with combines payroll and human resource systems. They should also be able to take steps to resolve it including offering parental leave.”

The coalition Government has pledged a commitment to promoting equal pay in the workplace and this can be seen embodied in the Equality Act that is due to  be implemented next April. The Government are also hoping to extend the right of requesting flexible working hours.  Currently only parents with children who are 16 years old or younger can legally request flexible hours.  Unions have urged ministers to enact legislation quicker, so as to protect those union members who are already facing discrimination. Employment solicitors have noted the slight increase in claims for unfair and unequal working conditions, but such legalization could open the floodgates.

A further study by the Chartered Management Institute showed that male managers still earn up to £10,000 more than their female counterparts, which can be viewed as almost an insult to the four decades of the Equal pay act functioning.  The Institute further remarked that achieving the goal of equality in pay would be almost 60 years away.

As part of their attempt to minimize the gender gap in pay, the Government will require all organizations of 150 employees or more to disclose the difference in earnings between men and women in comparable jobs. It is hoped that such a measure will force companies to not only be aware of such discrepancies but also to be accountable for them.

As the new measures come into effect, it is rumoured that employment solicitors will receive a fairly heavy case load. This is due to the true and transparent nature of the information that companies will release, and so employees will know where they stand and if they are being discriminated against.

About the Author:
Antonia Torr is a graduate from the University of Leicester, with a degree in Law with European Union Law. Having enjoyed writing from a young age, Antonia has received numerous awards that act as a testament to her quality of writing. For Quality Employment Solicitors please visit our website at http://www.qualitysolicitors.com
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