inequalityIn a report released today (20 June), the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee has called on the Government to tackle workplace inequality.

The committee’s report urges the Government to introduce regulations under s.78 of the Equality Act 2010 requiring large private-sector employers (those with 250 or more employees) to carry out equal pay audits, as well as proposing that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) should publish details of businesses that do not comply.

Commenting on the Report, Adrian Bailey MP, Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, said:

“Four decades since the Equal Pay Act, we still do not have full workplace equality. We cannot wait another 40 years.”

The report also calls on the Government to do more to tackle female under-representation in certain sectors of the economy. It states that as well as addressing a lack of comprehensive careers advice, the Government should set targets for encouraging women into apprenticeship sectors where they are currently under-represented.

Mr Bailey added:

“The Government has demonstrated a welcome commitment to improving the representation of women on boards. It must now show the same commitment to addressing their under-representation in certain sectors of the economy. This should include a willingness to set targets and, if necessary, to regulate.”

In addition, the report proposes that employees should be able to request flexible working from when they first join an employer, rather than being required to have worked for six months beforehand.

Bailey said:

“Flexible working is not a women’s issue; it affects all employees with caring responsibilities. We must dispel the myth that it is problematic and cannot work.”

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families, added:

“We warmly welcome the Committee’s myth-busting findings and its firm belief that flexible working leads to the most effective use of the talent pool. We are pleased to see their recommendations that all employees should have a right to request flexible working from the outset, and that we need reliable, consistent data on the extent of flexible working.

“There are strong messages here for Government to take action to become an exemplar in flexible working and for employers to ensure that they are maximising the benefits that flexible work can bring.”