How the UK’s dearth of transparency around wages harms gender equality

Pandemic has ‘exposed the fragility of women's progress in the workplace’, expert tells Maya Oppenheim

Friday 25 June 2021 18:29 BST
(Getty Images)

Equal pay legislation may have been in place for over half a century in the UK but the gender pay gap remains as persistent as ever. The Equal Pay Act, which was implemented in 1970, made equivalent pay for the same work a legal right, yet discrimination over pay is a persistent problem.

In a bid to tackle this, the Labour Party has called for equal pay laws to be “modernised” so women have the right to know the amount of money their male counterparts take home. The deputy leader and shadow secretary of state for the future of work, Angela Rayner, and the shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, Marsha de Cordova, also urged the government to urgently reinstate gender pay gap reporting as well as rolling out ethnicity pay gap reporting.

Rules obliging private companies that employ more than 250 people to release their gender pay gap figures were suspended by the government last spring due to pandemic upheaval. Labour’s call to tackle secrecy around wages is not a new one – with campaigners and MPs consistently calling for this for years.

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