Ethnicity pay gap reporting petition to be debated in parliament

Following the Black Lives Matter protests, a petition calling for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for UK businesses who have 250 or more employees has received over 100,000 signatures.

This amount of signatures now means that this topic will be debated in parliament. Rabya Aftab Lomas, the petition’s creator said:

It is necessary to shine a light on race and ethnicity-based inequality in the workplace, and that introducing these measures will allow employers to be held accountable in closing the gap where there is disparity.

The petition was launched in March, before the death of George Floyd.

David Issac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said:

One of the abiding calls from the race discussions we’ve had over the past two weeks is, ‘what are we going to do now?’. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to seek to resolve these issues.

We do need action, we need to build upon the recommendations made, many by the McGregor-Smith report, and the good work that Business in the Community and others have done.

We would like to make pay gap reporting mandatory and we’d like to build upon the data that currently exists … I do not feel that its overly bureaucratic to introduce and respond to mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.

The McGregor-Smith review looked at the issues faced by businesses in developing black and minority ethnic (BME) talent from when they start work through to the executive level.

A UK Government consultation on ethnicity pay reporting concluded in January 2019, however, the results of this have yet to be published. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has said he will create a commission investigating racial inequality in the UK. This commission will be overseen by Kemi Badenoch, equalities minister.

An issue that arises with this call on reporting on the ethnicity pay gap is the lack of data available to obtain these results. Employees’ do not always wish to provide their ethnicity data due to concerns of how it will be used and how confidential it will be.

Katy Bennett, diversity and inclusion consulting director at PwC, a multinational professional services network, said:

It requires some thinking, particularly if you’re global and you want to collect outside of the UK. How are you going to explain that you wish to collect this data and what you’re going to do with it?