NEW regulations aimed at closing the gender pay gap do not go far enough and fail to tackle the root causes of the issue, the TUC warned yesterday.
Under the legislation, which comes into force in the public sector from today, businesses with over 250 staff will have to publish the difference between men and women’s pay — both on its website and on a government website. The private sector will follow suit from April 6.
However TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that the root causes must be tackled first, and this can only happen if businesses publish reasons, discuss challenges and carry out reviews to inform future action.
The regulations also call for firms to include part-time and agency workers on the list and reveal the gap in hourly pay between part-time and fulltime workers.
A large number of women work part-time where low pay and poor progression are widespread. Women are also more likely to undertake agency work and be paid less than employees, it says.
The TUC says medium-sized employers should also be adopt the new practice and is calling for employers who fail to publish pay information to be named and fined.
Ms O’Grady said: “Publishing information on gender pay gaps in salaries and bonuses is a start.
“But to genuinely tackle the root causes of the gender pay gap, we need to understand why women are still being paid less than men and do something meaningful about it.
“We need to remove the barriers that stop women going into better paid, male-dominated professions and create more better-paid part-time and flexible jobs.
“And we must improve pay for undervalued — but vital — jobs that are predominantly done by women, like social care.”
The Fawcett Society equality charity head Sam Smethers said: “This is the most significant legal change since the Equal Pay Act. Employers should see it as an opportunity not a threat.
“But we won’t close the gender pay gap until we enable fathers to share the care of their children, make all jobs flexible working unless there is a good business reason not to, and address the segregation in our labour market which sees women concentrated in low-paid work while men dominate higher paid or senior roles.”