Harriet Harman has welcomed new pay figuresPay discrimination in the UK between male and female employees may be set to be a problem of the past, with the news that salary gaps between the genders are closing. According to the Office for National Statistics, the gender pay gap, as measured by the median hourly pay excluding overtime, narrowed between 2008 and 2009. The pay gap now stands at 12.2 per cent for full-time employees – which is a decline from the 12.6 per cent recorded in 2008 – while for part-time workers the gap stands at -0.2 per cent. For all UK employees, the divide has grown closer, from 22.5 per cent to 22 per cent over the same period, with 2009 hourly rates recorded as an average of £12.97 for men and £11.39 for women working full time. Commenting on the news, Harriet Harman, minister for women and equality, said: “Today’s figures are a small step in the right direction and the Equality Bill will help women make even further progress by shining a spotlight on gender pay discrimination, workplace by workplace, so problems can be identified and action taken.” She added that employers will no longer be able to rely on keeping their pay structure “secret”.