Pay transparency pilot paused

The Government has paused a pilot on pay transparency after two years, saying it prefers to focus on areas of ‘clear unjust disparity’.

equal pay with gender sign instead of the 'q'

 

A Parliamentary committee has expressed disappointment at the Government’s announcement that is pausing a long-running pilot on pay transparency.

In a letter to the Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities, says she has paused work on the Pay Transparency Pilot in order to focus on “those areas of work where there is a clear unjust disparity”.

She says: “We have always been clear that Government policy should be evidence-led. As you will know, pay transparency is still an emerging area, and we do not yet know whether there could be unintended negative impacts. We are aware that several countries are exploring legislative options, and therefore believe it makes sense to first learn from their experience, before taking any further action.”

The pilot was announced in March 2022 as a measure to ‘break down barriers for women’. Several studies have focused on the issue of pay transparency and gender equality. A study by the Fawcett Society, for instance, found that 58% of women felt they had received a lower salary offer than they would have if they had not been asked about their pay history during the recruitment process.

A recent workingmums.co.uk poll on pay transparency shows the majority of mums would avoid applying for a job where no pay is stated and nearly a quarter are put off applying if a pay range, rather than a specific salary. The poll of over 500 mums found 74% said they would avoid applying for a job where no pay is stated. Twenty two per cent say they would be put off applying if a pay range rather than a specific salary was advertised.

In March 2024, the Minister for Women reaffirmed the Government’s plans for the pilot, saying: “One of the things we are doing is a pay transparency pilot, because it also disadvantages women when pay bands are not advertised and they have to go in to negotiate what they think might be on offer—and men tend to be much better at that.”

Responding to the news that the pilot has now been paused, Caroline Nokes, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said: “The Government had said it is ‘leading the way’ on a pay transparency pilot to help tackle the persistent gender pay gap in this country.

“It is disappointing to learn that, two years after announcing the plans on International Women’s Day, not only has the Minister for Women and Equalities failed to deliver the promised pilot, she is now abandoning those plans altogether.

“In 2022, the Government noted that evidence supported the need for the pay transparency pilot, only a few weeks ago the Minister for Women and her officials told my Committee of the importance of the pilot. We are now expected to believe that not only is there not enough evidence to support the need for a pilot on pay transparency but that women being paid less than their male colleagues to perform the same role is not a clear unjust disparity. Rather than lead the way on reducing the gender pay gap and giving women a chance to break out of the cycle of low pay, the Government has instead chosen to sit on its hands and do nothing. I urge the Government to reconsider.”



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