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The UK enacted its first legal measure to address gender pay inequity, the Equal Pay Act 1970, more than 50 years ago. Yet, in 2021, the gender pay gap (GPG) still stood at 15.4%. Departing from the remedial and individual approach that characterises equal pay legislation, the 2017 Gender Pay Gap Information Regulations (the Regulations) require private and voluntary sector organisations with 250+ employees to annually publish pay data broken down by gender. The long-term aspiration of the Regulations is to contribute to closing the GPG within a generation. It is also hoped that they will encourage the public disclosure of pay data and changes in workplace policies to reduce organisational GPGs (immediate aims) and improve employers’ accountability (underlying aim). This paper considers whether the Regulations have what it takes to meet those immediate and underlying aims. Our assessment framework is built on the premise that for public disclosure to be useful and for employers to tackle the causes of the GPG, the information reported must be of sufficient quality, meaningful and relevant. The paper draws on both doctrinal analysis and empirical data reported by FTSE 100 Index companies to assess the Regulations and determine whether they hold the potential to meet those aims.
The EU has progressively introduced antidiscrimination enforcement measures like the duty to set up Equality Bodies (EBs) that applies to the ground of racial or ethnic origin, among others. Until recently, however, EU law only envisaged vague standards for EBs that allowed a wide range of national configurations. Building on international benchmarks, this paper draws a set of dimensions considered necessary to improve promotion-type EBs responsiveness to discrimination. These dimensions are applied to the British and Spanish EBs to illustrate how the gaps left by EU law may lead to the design of ineffective bodies. The paper argues that EBs can contribute to effectively tackling discrimination if they are designed to be responsive at individual and systemic levels. The 2018 EU Recommendation on Standards for EBs makes a step forward in that direction, but its practical relevance may be limited by its non-binding nature.
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