NUJ joins calls for action on gender pay gap reporting
The NUJ has backed the TUC’s call – alongside MPs, equality campaigners and industry leaders – for urgent action to prevent the UK’s gender pay gap reporting being shelved for a second year.
The NUJ has backed the TUC's call – alongside MPs, equality campaigners and industry leaders – for urgent action to prevent the UK's gender pay gap reporting being shelved for a second year.
Enforcement of gender pay gap reporting, implemented in 2017, was suspended at the eleventh hour late last March due to the uncertainty thrown up by the Covid-19 crisis.
The Women and Equalities select committee has issued a clear warning about the prospect of any further delay, stating in its report:
"Given the high number of women who have been furloughed or worked reduced hours due to caring responsibilities, and the evidence of continuing gender inequality in other areas, this should have been a time for more – not less – transparency."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, urged the government to reinstate a "vital service in the battle for workplace equality". She said:
"We know how badly impacted women have been during this pandemic. Without a resumption of vital and necessary reporting and meaningful transparency we simply won't know how badly set back our battle for workplace equality has been. It's not good enough to allow businesses to hide behind the pandemic – transparency is vital, particularly when furlough continues in many areas, and when redundancies are taking place without meaningful equality impact assessments in many workplaces.
"If the government fails to listen, we call on employers across the media industry to carry out and report their gender pay gap findings on a voluntary basis, and send a strong message to their staff and the public that principles of equality matter, crisis or no crisis."
Survey data from the Chartered Management Institute backs up this fear, with 63 per cent of 3,000 managers surveyed revealing that they expected redundancies in 2021, but 80 per cent saying that their company had not taken steps to ensure job cuts do not disproportionally fall on women. Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute said the need to reinstate the gender pay gap requirement was now "very urgent".
The Women and Equalities select committee also recommended:
- The Government Equalities Office (GEO) must take a more proactive role in mainstreaming gender equality in policy development across all government departments. We urge the GEO and the Minister for Women and Equalities to be much more ambitious in co-ordinating equalities strategies and holding departments to account on equalities. The GEO's strategy plan for 2020-2021 must reflect these proactive policy development priorities and demonstrate clear key performance indicators for achieving them.
- The government require all departments to collect and publish data disaggregated by sex and protected characteristics in a way that facilitates reporting and analysis on how, for example, gender, ethnicity, disability, age and socio-economic status interact, and can compound disadvantage.
- That gender pay gap reporting be urgently reinstated, with reporting for the financial years 2019/20 and 2020/21 required in April 2021.
- The GEO and Equality and Human Rights Commission explore the feasibility of reporting on parental leave policies in addition to gender gaps in furlough and redundancies for 2020/21 to supplement the information on pay and bonuses. We also urge the government to support The Equal Pay (Implementation and Claims) Bill.
- The government should publish proposals for introducing ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting within the next six months.