A report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Work highlights the need for linking up strategies in order to create more inclusive workplaces.
The Government should convene a ‘Good Work’ taskforce which works across Government departments to examine how to make work inclusive and accessible for all, according to the annual report of the Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group.
The report, Inclusivity and intersectionality: toolkit and annual report 2019, is focused on the 2019 theme of the group’s meetings.
It says the Government taskforce, with the help of business and specialist groups, should boost diversity and inclusion by considering how different strands of diversity intersect and shape a person’s experience of the labour market and at work.
The report covers all the areas that the Group worked on in 2019, including mental health. It says the Government should work with different industries to produce and promote mental health guidance for employers and that this guidance should recognise the causes of mental ill health, including sexism and other forms of discrimination. It also calls for education programmes for employers on how to support employees.
Other areas covered include calls to improve careers advice in schools in conjunction with the recruitment industry, as a means of addressing gender-based segregation; the use of skills-based interviews and a reduction in emphasis on work experience to ensure disadvantaged groups don’t find themselves further marginalised; the publication of detailed action plans to go alongside gender pay gap reporting and improvements in data collection to enable the development of practical solutions; the expansion of gender pay gap reporting to ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting; the introduction of a legal requirement for employers with 250+ staff to publish their family-related leave and pay and flexible working policies clearly on their website; the extension of flexible working legislation to all workers from day one in a job; and ringfencing of funding for disadvantaged women in the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which will replace EU structural funding after Brexit.
The report also calls for the promised National Strategy for Disabled People to include an employment strategy for disabled people, focusing particularly on women with disabilities, people with neurodiverse conditions and persons with visual impairments and a commitment to delivering the National LGBT Action Plan and developing it into a cross-Government strategy on LGBT equality. It says the Government should commit to LGBT inclusion across all areas of education and training, including supporting young people in the workplace.
In addition to recommendations, case studies and reports of the 2019 sessions in Parliament, the report includes an employer toolkit which covers everything from outreach programmes targeting disadvantaged young people, an employee well-being passport outlines any reasonable adjustments or flexible working arrangements already agreed between an employee and their line manager so that even with a change in management, an employee is still able to retain their work arrangements and encouragement for employees to create and join affinity networks and to be given mentors [this is particularly important for socially disadvantaged groups] to investment in workplace allyship training from providers such as Stonewall to promote inclusion and clear mental health guidance.