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enei Comment on EHRC Pay Gap Strategy

Following the publication of the EHRC’s pay gap strategy, enei chief executive Denise Keating commented:

“The EHRC’s pay gap research has revealed the shameful extent to which pay gaps exist across groups in the UK. It is clear from the statistics that we can’t continue to see the pay gap as a women’s problem. The research has revealed massive pay gaps exist for both disabled people and specific ethnic groups.

“We completely agree that flexible options in work are an important tool for reducing pay gaps but we would prefer to see increased focus around tackling bias throughout the employee lifecycle. It is encouraging to see that the EHRC has set challenging strategic goals including an extension of reporting requirements which, if accomplished, would contribute significantly to the reduction of pay gaps of all types.

“What we have seen since the introduction of gender pay gap reporting is that, when challenged, the easiest way for organisations to reduce their pay gaps on paper is to outsource their lowest paid roles. This eliminates opportunities for progression within these organisations and results in the bizarre situation where no individual employer has a large pay gap, but the national pay gap remains. A further consideration is that most employers struggle to properly analyse their pay gaps because they simply do not have the mechanisms in place to be able to maximise the declaration rates of staff with some staff being unwilling to declare their ethnicity and disability. Any reporting will be worthless if the largest group is “Prefer not to say”.

“As well as the barriers faced, and created, by employers, a critical factor will be Government commitment. We would encourage all political parties to put aside their differences and build consensus on the issue of pay gaps, which both Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May committed to tackling in their respective manifestos just a few short months ago.”