- The Government has committed in legislation to make regulations by March 2016 for mandatory gender pay reporting for larger employers, but the relevant legislation has not yet been commenced. Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, has now confirmed to parliament that she intends “to launch a consultation imminently, with a view to making regulations at the earliest opportunity. … The consultation will not focus solely on the regulations, but will look at the full range of actions needed to close the pay gap and consign it to history. ” She noted that “some employers have concerns about publishing gender pay information” and commented that, although she believes these concerns largely unfounded, these issues would be considered carefully in the consultation and that a business reference group has been established to inform the proposals. The Minister stressed that the proposals concern gender pay gap, namely the difference between men and women’s average salaries, rather than solely equal pay for equal work. In her view, unlawful pay discrimination is not the most significant driver of the gender pay gap, more important factors being the different careers women tend to enter and the levels of seniority they attain.
The comments were made in an Opposition Day debate at which it was also mentioned that the Equality Act is up for its five year review. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and Family Justice Caroline Dinenage noted that she expects shortly to publish a post-legislative scrutiny memorandum on the Equality Act 2010 as a Command Paper, to be considered by the Women and Equalities Committee. This will look at whether the Act has achieved its stated aims.
- On 11 June the Ministry of Justice announced an internal review of the impact of the introduction of employment tribunal fees, to be completed later this year. The terms of the review are available here. The announcement was released one week before the Court of Appeal hearing of Unison’s appeal in its judicial review case challenging the introduction of fees; judgment is awaited.
- The Government has also confirmed that the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme, originally planned for implementation in September 2015, will now launch in 2017.