Stella Creasy yesterday introduced a new Bill which would allow women to know what their male colleagues are paid. A new poll shows majority support for it from women and men.
Only three out of 10 working women agreed that their employer would tell them if their male colleagues earned more for the same work, if they asked, according to a new poll.
Even fewer working women aged over 55 said their bosses would be straight with them, just two in 10 (23%) saying they believe they would.
The new poll from Savanta ComRes for the Fawcett Society shows six in 10 (62%) said that if a woman is not being paid equally for doing the same job as a man, she should be given the information about his pay that she needs to challenge the situation. It shows support from women and men – with 69% of women supporting a right to know, compared to 55% of men. Support increases with age: 69% of men and women age 55 and over support the Right to Know, compared to 54% of men and women age 18-34.
The poll came head of the introduction of the Equal Pay Implementation and Claims (EPIC) Bill 2020 into Parliament by MP Stella Creasy. The Private Member’s Bill is co-signed by MPs from the Conservative, Labour, SNP, Lib Dem and Green parties and drafted by the Fawcett Society. It will give women the legal right to request pay data relating to male colleagues, with appropriate safeguards on the information.
The Fawcett Society says the Bill has cross-party support among MPs and that the Right to Know reform is also supported by 62% of Conservative voters and 71% of Labour voters.
Stella Creasy, MP Walthamstow, said: “Barbara Castle’s legendary equal pay legislation was passed before I was even born, yet still women in this country don’t get paid the same as men for their work. The gender pay gap in 2019 stood at 17.3%, which means that on average, women were paid approximately 83p for every £1 men were paid. Millions of women are on low pay because of injustice, not their inability to do the same as their male counterparts.”
“Many women don’t even know they are subject to pay discrimination, leaving them unable to get redress without having to turn to legal action. Introducing the “Right to Know” will mean that women can have the evidence they need to challenge employers if they believe a man doing the same work is getting paid more, without being forced to go to a tribunal. Together with strengthened requirements for gender pay gap reporting and BAME pay gap reporting, these measures will help deliver what our predecessors demanded – fair pay for a fair day’s work for all. I don’t want my daughter’s generation to still have to fight this battle – the time has come to make equal pay a reality once and for all.”
In Parliament yesterday she accused the UK government of having “taken their foot off the pedal” on tackling the gender pay gap.
The Bill also includes changes to give women back pension rights lost because of pay discrimination and damages for the emotional harm suffered and to ensure that rules which stop employers from denying women equal pay rights via complex ownership structures continue to exist after Brexit. It also reduces the threshold for gender pay gap audits to employers with 100 staff, introduces mandatory action plans and includes ethnicity pay gap reporting.
*To support the Bill, The Fawcett Society is calling on people to write to their MP backing it via this form – https://fawcettsociety.eaction.org.uk/righttoknow and to sign and share a petition calling for the law to change so equal pay can be a reality for more women. The petition is at: https://www.change.org/p/incoming-prime-minister-stop-pay-discrimination-give-women-the-righttoknow