The Government Equalities Office’s “Gender equality at every stage: a roadmap for change” sets out proposals to tackle eight key drivers of gender inequality, which include:
Strengthening equality legislation
• A consultation on the effectiveness of workplace sexual harassment legislation, including whether to extend the three-month time limit for bringing discrimination and harassment tribunal claims (since published on 11 July 2019).
• Technical guidance by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on sexual harassment and harassment at work (to be published later this year) which will form the basis of a statutory code of conduct.
• A review of the enforcement of equal pay legislation to maximise its efficiency.
• The publication of a Gender Equality Monitor to monitor issues relating to gender equality.
• Setting up a collaborative taskforce of employers and other bodies to tackle the workplace culture which breeds pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
Closing the gender pay gap
• A review of the gender pay gap reporting metrics to assess how effective they are, as well as considering what additional information should be provided by employers to increase transparency about the steps they are taking to support gender equality.
• A national campaign to provide employers with the tools to help employees balance work and care and to support progression in the workplace. Updated Government guidance will be published later this year, along with implementation guides for HR on tackling gender inequality.
Review of shared parental leave and pay scheme
The effectiveness of the shared parental leave and pay schemes is currently under review and should be completed by the end of 2019. The Government will consult on increasing the transparency of organisations’ parental leave and pay policies and on improving the availability of flexible working in job adverts.
Employment rights for carers
The Government confirms its manifesto commitment to launch a consultation on a new right to carers’ leave, although no timeframe is given.
The Government plans to monitor the impact of equalising participation rates in workplace pension schemes to tackle the structural inequalities that lead to the private pensions gap.
This roadmap suggests that the Government is serious about trying to tackle gender inequality in the workplace. But as the proposals include potential changes to employment law it is unlikely that these changes will happen quickly.