Is it a race to earn the same?
What is the news?
The government has today launched a consultation on mandatory ethnic pay reporting.
What does the news means?
The government’s Race Disparity Audit in 2017 revealed significant disparities in the pay and progression of ethnic minority employees compared to their white counterparts. The consultation which will follow indicates (bearing in mind that the consultation is just that, a consultation) the government’s apparent desire to understand the extent of discrimination against ethnic minorities in the workplace, with the ultimate aim of ‘a fairer and more diverse workforce’.
What we think of the news?
Earlier this year gender pay gap reporting for companies with over 250 employees came into play, which require employers to publish the pay gap between their male and female employees. Whilst there is no real liability for a failure to report, it has had an impact from a reputational perspective, with the media and other industries referring to these published results.
Given that the Office for National Statistics groups individuals in England into 18 ethnic groups, the process of reporting may be very costly and complex for many employers. This is in comparison to just two variables under gender pay gap reporting. However, within its consultation, the government is inviting employers to comment on ‘how ethnicity data can be collected without placing undue burdens on businesses’ therefore it will be interesting to see whether their views will be taken into account.
It remains to be seen whether the move paves the way for a consideration of other protected characteristics, such as disability. The organisation Disability Rights UK says that disabled people ‘continue to lag behind in so many areas of life, from educational opportunities to equal pay … A requirement for organisations to report on their disability pay gap would be a step towards combatting social injustice.’ For now, though, it is encouraging to see that a consultation mandatory ethnic pay reporting will at least be a step towards removing barriers to ethnic minorities progressing in the workplace.
This contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.