Labour manifesto pledges action on the gender pay gap

Labour’s manifesto includes several pledges on equality at work.

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Labour launched its manifesto today, with a pledge to tackle inequality in all its forms.

Labour says it will “ensure no matter whatever your background, you can thrive”. The manifesto specifically mentions enacting the socio-economic duty in the Equality Act 2010 as well as women’s equality, race equality and anti-discrimination action on disability and sexuality.

It states that women’s equality “will be at the heart of our missions” through its plan to Make Work Pay, which include strengthening rights to equal pay and protections from maternity and menopause discrimination and sexual harassment [including by third parties] and building on the legacy of Barbara Castle’s Equal Pay Act to address equal pay.

Labour also plans to introduce a Race Equality Act “to enshrine in law the full right to equal pay for Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority people, strengthen protections against dual discrimination and root out other racial inequalities”. It says it will reverse the Conservatives’ decision to downgrade the monitoring of antisemitic and Islamophobic hate.

On disability, Labour says it will introduce the right to equal pay for disabled people and will introduce disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers. It adds that it will increase employment support, access to reasonable adjustments, tackle the Access to Work backlog and make sure people can try out a job without fear of an immediate benefit reassessment if it does not work out.

Labour has already announced several of the policies relating to family-friendly working in recent days and months as well as its New Deal for Working People which includes plans to ban exploitative zero hours contracts, end fire and rehire; and introduce basic rights from day one to parental leave, sick pay and protection from unfair dismissal. It also plans to create a Single Enforcement Body to ensure employment rights are upheld. On childcare, its pledges to create over 3,000 new nursery classes in schools in England, freeing up more than 100,000 new nursery places for children from nine months old and free breakfast clubs for all primary schoolchildren in England.

Childcare experts have welcomed more places for children, but called for an urgent workforce strategy to address the recruitment crisis in the sector. Meanwhile, anti-poverty campaigners called for Labour to scrap the two-child benefit cap.

Plaid Cmyru also launched its manifesto today. It pledges to help 330,000 Welsh families to deal with the cost of living crisis by increasing Child Benefit by £20 per week. It says it wants Wales to control its own employment laws to protect workers’ rights and its own benefits system. It adds that “people should not be blamed for being unwell and unable to work.” It also wants to see the five-week wait for benefits reduced. On childcare, it will extend support to those who want to learn and have children.

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