On Equal Pay Day last Thursday, the day when women effectively stop getting paid for the rest of the year compared to their male counterparts, Laura Pidcock, Shadow Employment Rights Secretary and Dawn Butler, Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, set out the next Labour government’s target of closing the gender pay gap by 2030.
Labour will close the gender pay gap by:
- Introducing a real living wage of £10 an hour
- Creating a new Workers’ Protection Agency working in partnership with HMRC with powers to fine organisations that fail to report their gender pay, publish action plans to reduce pay gaps or take satisfactory measures to close the pay gap
- Requiring all employers with over 250 employees to obtain government certification on gender equality or face further auditing and fines. By the end of 2020, we will lower the threshold to workplaces with 50 employees, while providing the necessary additional support for small business
- Extending statutory maternity pay from 9 to 12 months and introducing free childcare for all 2-4 year olds – because childbirth is when the pay gap starts to widen for many women
- Strengthening protections against unfair dismissal and redundancies, with extra rights for pregnant women
- Rolling out sectoral collective bargaining to raise the floor on pay across entire sectors
- Raising the pay of low paid public sector workers by ending the pay cap and bringing local public services back in house
- Introducing national pay scales in low paid sectors with overwhelmingly female workforces, such as childcare and school support staff
- When services are procured from the private sector, companies will be assessed against best practice public service criteria, including provisions for collective bargaining, adherence to environmental standards, effective equalities policies, full tax compliance and application of pay ratios. In the public sector, we will enforce maximum pay ratios of 20:1
- Require large employers to introduce a menopause workplace policy to break the stigma associated with the menopause
Next year marks 50 years since the Equal Pay Act, but the mean gender pay gap for full-time work stands at 13.1%. According to the Fawcett Society, at the current rate, it will take another 60 years to close
Laura Pidcock, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights Secretary, said:
“For far too long the interests of working women have been at the bottom of the list of priorities for government.
“Labour in government will be uncompromising in tackling the structural barriers that is holding so many women back.
“Employers will no longer be able to treat the issue of the gender pay gap as an afterthought. Instead, they will be expected to take proactive steps to close it.
“Labour will deliver the real change that women need in the workplace.”
Dawn Butler, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, said:
“It’s not good enough that under the current government’s plans, it will take another 60 years to close the gender pay gap.
“Labour’s real living wage, robust gender pay auditing – including fining organisations that fail to take action, will help us deliver real change and meet this ambitious target.”
Ahead of the announcement, Anne Rouse, Labour’s candidate in Guildford, said:
“So many women have seen this kind of unfairness at work – and it has to end.
“It’s completely unacceptable that in Guildford there is still a 26.6 per cent gap in wages between men and women.
“Working women have been at the bottom of the list of priorities for government and under the Tories plans, it’ll take sixty years to close the gap.
“Clearly you can’t trust the Tories to make your workplace more fair. But this is a scandal that needs to be addressed right now.
“Labour’ in government will be uncompromising in tackling the structural barriers that are holding so many women back in Guildford.
“Labour will deliver the real change that women need in the workplace, ending the scandal of women in Guildford earning 20.6% less than men.”