Labour’s Stella Creasy led the call for changes to the current requirements when she presented the bill to parliament.
The Equal Pay Implementation and Claims Bill (EPIC) 2020 has cross-party backing including the Tory chair of the Women and Equalities Committee Caroline Nokes, Liberal Democrats’ Christine Jardine, SNP’s Anne McLaughlin and Green Party’s Caroline Lucas.
Since 2017, any business with over 250 employees has had to report their gender pay gap data to the government and publicly publish their figures.
Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft told HR magazine: “Progress on equality is being made, but it’s not moving fast enough. It’s clear that gender and diversity pay gap reporting requirements need to expand.”
Recent analysis from the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London found that the UK lags behind other countries in its statutory requirements regarding the gender pay gap.
A survey from the CIPD and recruitment outsourcing provider Omni found less than a quarter (23%) of UK employers go beyond basic legislative requirements on diversity when it comes to recruitment and selection of senior level roles.
Nowakowska agreed that gender diversity within senior roles still appears to be a work in progress with important implications for the pay gap.
She said: “Women bring a different dynamic, different thinking and different strategies – so why not have equal representation of genders when it comes to the boardroom?”
Nicole Sahin, founder and CEO of information solutions company Globalization Partners, told HR magazine: “In striving for workplace equality, businesses must never forget that management and cultural authenticity determine the success of every relevant decision, activity and message.
“The ability of employers to enact meaningful change is directly linked to the quality of their organisational values and whether they are effectively shared across their entire team.”
Gender pay gap reporting has been temporarily suspended for businesses in the UK since March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Lorna Fitzsimons, co-founder of diversity and inclusion specialists The Pipeline said she understands why the government put the suspension in place, but thinks that it was a mistake.
Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “Every large company already has the data to hand, so they should publish it.
“In recessions and times of downturn, women and people of colour lose out more and are far more likely to lose their jobs, but this is something we can not afford to do.
“We need diversity in our companies and senior roles now more than ever, because balanced teams will give us all the best chance of economic recovery. We must move forwards not backwards.”