Prime Minister Theresa May has called on all employers, including small businesses, to publish data on the so-called ‘gender pay gap’ to improve ‘workplace equality’.
The government has already introduced legislation forcing businesses with more than 250 employees, from April 2018, to publish their data on the gap between male and female staff’s salaries. But in recent remarks, the prime minister is now pushing smaller businesses to do the same, reports the BBC.
The move, which would force an additional bureaucratic burden onto small businesses, costing them additional time and resources, is said, by Mrs. May, to be needed to close the gap “once and for all” and requires “sustained action” from employers. The statement comes after ONS figures show the gap between women’s salaries and men’s has risen by 0.2 per cent from 18.2 per cent in 2016 to 18.4 per cent in 2017.
The so-called gender pay gap, where women are believed to be paid less than men because of institutional sexism, has been repeatedly debunked, with research and free market campaigners finding that gaps in salary are due to: women studying ‘soft’ subjects at university, rather than reading for degrees in subjects such as engineering that lead to higher-paid jobs; women taking career breaks to have children; and men working longer hours so they end up being paid more.
The prime minister has also pushed for more companies to provide ‘flexible working’ for staff to close the pay gap, saying all jobs should be advertised as flexible “from day one” unless there were “solid business reasons” not to.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 28, 2017
She said in a statement: “The gender pay gap isn’t going to close on its own. We need to see a real step-change in the number of companies publishing their gender pay data and offering progression and flexibility for all employees.
“That’s why today I am calling on more businesses, both small and large, to take action to make sure the gender pay gap is eliminated once and for all.”
In September, former Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman called for MPs to have guaranteed six months’ maternity leave to make the role of Member of Parliament more ‘family friendly’ and attractive to women applicants.
Conservative Party member and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow threw his weight behind the proposals in October, the suggested measures including MPs on maternity appointing ‘cover MPs’ who could act as a proxy for votes, sit in the House of Commons, and perform other parliamentary and constituency duties.
This week, Tory MPs, again backed by Bercow, urged the Church of England to “get on with” plans to drive up the percentage of ethnic minorities and women amongst its clergy members, with a target of “50 per cent of women in the priesthood” by 2020.