Recent debates amongst MPs have taken place looking at further reducing the gender pay gap. Huge pay gaps still exist in the pay and benefits of men and women in the working environment.
Suggestions on how to rectify this issue have been looked at however there is speculation that if these suggestions were to become legal, it may put more strain on employers already dealing with increased salary costs with the New Living wage?
The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee’s Gender Pay Gap report is an attempt to address the methodical issues causing gender pay inequality and recommend government action. It’s believed that there is a ‘lack of effective government policy’, with the flagship policy of shared parental leave having ‘made little difference’ to date.
It was added that forthcoming reporting regulations where larger companies will have to report their pay gap, also did not go far enough to make a real difference.
One of the recommendations was that three months parental leave be automatically granted to second parents on top of current paternity leave benefits and that payment of paternity leave increase to 90 percent of salary (capped for higher earners) with the three months non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90 percent for the first four weeks.
Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families, said: “The ‘motherhood penalty’ is a price that women continue to pay at work and at home. The answer lies with fathers. A decent period of paid paternity leave would allow more fathers to care for their young children – and push this out of the domain of ‘women’s work’ for good.
“The option to take parental leave part-time would make it a realistic opportunity for many low-paid fathers, who would otherwise find it impossible to make ends meet on statutory pay alone.”
In addition to greater paternity leave, the report said the key to addressing the gender pay gap was flexible working. It called on the government to make all jobs flexible from the outset unless there was a “strong and continuing business case for them not to be”.
“This does not mean part-time work, which we know is underpaid and limits career progression,” the report said. “Flexible working is much broader and includes job shares, late starts, early finishes, term-time working and working from home. The government recognises the value of modernising the workplace, but is still not taking the steps needed to ensure that flexible working is offered to all employees, particularly those in lower-paid sectors.”
The report also recommended establishing strategies for low-paid sectors with large numbers of female employees to improve productivity and pay levels; the creation of a scheme to help women return to employment after time out of the labour market; and the introduction of carers’ leave of six weeks to allow employees facing short-term care issues to take time out of work without risking their jobs.
Wurkplace consultants can work with you to identify gender pay gaps and discuss the options that will allow you to stay compliant with the most recent legislation. We can also help to identify flexible working opportunities and implement fair working practices. Call 0330 400 5490 and speak to an advisor today.
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