Workplace equality falling behind in UK

The UK is one of the worst countries for promoting equality in the workplace, according to research from health company Essity.

The research polled workers from Mexico, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, the US, Ireland and the Netherlands and the UK.

The UK ranked bottom for recruiting people from diverse backgrounds and providing the same opportunities to people regardless of race, religion, disability or nationality.

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On providing equal pay between genders and people from different backgrounds, and offering the same opportunities to men and women, the UK ranked ninth out of the 10 countries.

Addressing the challenges of the report, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the government is working to address the shortcomings.

Speaking to HR magazine, they said: "We are committed to empowering everyone at work to reach their full potential, in particular women and people from minority backgrounds. Our initiatives to increase flexible working, paternity leave, and guidance on ethnicity pay reporting reflect this."

The government offers up to 50 weeks shared parental leave and BEIS has held consultations on making flexible working the default since late 2021. 

The report also showed that while the UK gives the most time off for maternity leave (39 weeks), the 30% average salary contribution during that time was one of the lowest - only beaten by Ireland and the US.

"We have committed to extend redundancy protections for new mothers into a period of return to work as soon as parliament time can be found, and we have committed to make it easier to take paternity leave," the spokesperson continued.

"Our Inclusive Britain action plan sets out plans to build a fairer and more inclusive society, including promoting fairness in the workplace and action to tackle the ethnicity pay gap."

Essity surveyed 1,000 UK adults between January and February 2022.


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