Addressing ethnicity and gender inequalities – recent developments in pay gap reporting

We previously told you in October 2018 that the UK government was consulting on mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. That consultation ended on 11 January 2019. Since then, there have been no updates from the government on the outcome of the consultation.

However, following the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world in light of George Floyd’s death in the USA and Public Health England’s report on the disproportionate impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on BAME groups, there have been fresh calls on the UK government (including a petition) to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting as one way of addressing social inequalities for ethnic minorities in the UK. It has been widely acknowledged that the pandemic has negatively impacted diversity, so it is encouraging to see ethnicity pay reporting back on the agenda.

As the petition has amassed over 100,000 signatures, Parliament is now set to debate mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. The date of this debate is to be confirmed.

As we follow this development closely, we also note that Business in the Community (BITC) (a charity promoting responsible business and corporate social responsibility) has revealed that, since the government suspended the enforcement of gender pay gap reporting requirements this year in response to the pandemic, only 50% of employers have published their gender pay gap reports for 2018/19.

BITC is encouraging employers to voluntarily publish reports, emphasising the importance of gender pay gap reporting during the pandemic and warning that failure to do so could see gender equality "pushed back a generation".