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14 July 2016

London’s Mayor calls for employers to close the gender pay gap

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called on employers to close the pay gap for women, as he launched a major action plan to ensure full pay equality across the Greater London Authority (GLA) and other bodies within the GLA. Khan states that the gap is caused by not having enough women in senior roles, an issue he is determined to address. Khan has tasked officials with bringing forward an urgent plan to do so, if necessary by bringing in outside experts
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Khan’s vow to support women in gaining equal pay and equal access to senior positions comes as he fulfils a manifesto commitment, with City Hall today publishing a full gender pay audit of all its staff.
The Mayor is instructing other bodies within the Greater London Authority family, including Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade, to follow suit by producing their own gender pay audit and publishing follow-up plans on how they propose to narrow any gaps.
Khan’s plans to boost female representation at the most senior levels at City Hall include increasing the availability of part-time and flexible-working options and aiding career progression within those roles. City Hall is also offering mentoring, career-support programmes and sponsorship for qualifications. It is training managers to ensure the recruitment process is as fair as possible and piloting “no name” application forms. 
Sadiq Khan said: “I have vowed to be a proud feminist at City Hall, and I am determined to make the Greater London Authority a model employer that removes any barriers to women by adopting the highest possible standards for fair pay, good working conditions and gender equality.
"These figures show that, while City Hall compares favourably with the London average for employers, much more needs to be done to get our own house in order.
"There is an unacceptable pay gap between men and women at City Hall – I am determined to address this."
Khan continued: “It is unacceptable that in London, one of the world’s greatest and most progressive cities, someone’s pay and career prospects can still be defined by their gender. I want City Hall to be a model employer, adopting the highest standards to support women in the workplace and I challenge both ourselves and others to take action to break the glass ceiling that still exists to limit their success.”
The GLA’s audit reveals that, at the end of March 2016, women employed at City Hall on a full time contract are paid an average of £21.40 per hour, while their male counterparts earn on average £22.44. This equates to a pay gap of 4.6 per cent. The pay gap for all full-time London workers is 11.9 per cent.
52 per cent of City Hall staff are women and 41 per cent of senior staff earning £60,000 or more are women. 29 per cent of staff earning over £100K are female.                                                          
The press release is backed up by a short but informative report of the audit itself.

6 July 2016

Equal pay gaps reading list

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has recently updated its reading list on equal pay and pay gaps - including those that go beyond gender.

You can find the list here

1 July 2016

Employment Tribunal fees have significant adverse impact on access to justice

The House of Common's Justice Committee Report on Courts and Tribunal fees, published on 20th June 2016, says that Employment Tribunal fees have a significant adverse impact on access to justice. 

Following a consultation which took place from December 2011 to March 2012, the Government introduced Employment Tribunal fees in July 2013. For the purposes of fees, Employment Tribunal claims are divided into ‘Type A’ and ‘Type B’ claims. Type B claims, which include equal pay claims, attract higher fees because they are, generally speaking, more complex and consuming of tribunal resources than Type A claims. Fees are also higher for claims involving more than one claimant.

Employment Tribunals have been a reserved matter and the fees have applied in Scotland since their introduction. However, in September 2015 the Scottish Government announced that it would abolish the fees following the transfer of the tribunals to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, meaning that equal pay claimants in Scotland will not have to pay tribunal fees.

While the Government has been carrying out a review of the impact of fees, the Committee finds inconsistencies in the in the Government’s account of the progress of its review, and points to “a troubling contrast between the speed with which the Government has brought forward successive proposals for higher fees, and its tardiness in completing an assessment of the impact of the most controversial change it has made.

While not recommending a complete removal of fees, the Committee recommends that the Government publish forthwith the factual information which they have collated as part of their post-implementation review of Employment Tribunal fees. The Committee further recommends that:
  • the overall quantum of fees charged for bringing cases to employment tribunals should be substantially reduced;
  • the binary Type A/type B distinction should be replaced: acceptable alternatives could be by a single fee; by a three-tier fee structure, as suggested by the Senior President of Tribunals; or by a level of fee set as a proportion of the amount claimed, with the fee waived if the amount claimed is below a determined level;
  • disposable capital and monthly income thresholds for fee remission should be increased, and no more than one fee remission application should be required, covering both the issue fee and the prospective hearing fee and with the threshold for exemption calculated on the assumption that both fees will be paid;
  • further special consideration should be given to the position of women alleging maternity or pregnancy discrimination, for whom, at the least, the time limit of three months for bringing a claim should be reviewed.
You can read the Committee’s full report here, the chapter on Employment Tribunals here, and the Committee’s recommendations in respect of Employment Tribunals here.