Gender equality initiatives

The government will consult on various measures to tackle inequality, among them new measures to tackle sexual harassment and a review of equal pay law.

The Government Equalities Office has published Gender Equality at Every Stage which sets out the key drivers of inequality and the measures which will be taken to address them. Of specific interest to HR are the following:

  • The gender pay gap regulations will be reviewed and updated, with a consultation on proposed changes by 2021. This may include additional information for employers to upload to increase transparency about policies and initiatives to support gender equality, e.g. employers’ family-friendly policies and retention rates for staff returning from parental leave.
  • An evaluation of shared parental leave and pay (whose take up has been very low) by the end of 2019 as well as the launch of a shared parental leave digital tool to help parents understand the available options.
  • A consultation on dedicated employment rights for carers such as carers’ leave.
  • A review of the way in which equal pay law is enforced, to include the circumstances where mandatory equal pay audits could be appropriate and proportionate.
  • A consultation on sexual harassment legislation – to include strengthening and clarifying the law on third-party harassment, looking at whether protections should be extended to volunteers and interns, and examining whether the three-month tribunal time limit should be extended. The EHRC are also expected to publish guidance later in 2019 on sexual harassment at work.