What Could The ‘Race Disparity Audit’ Mean For Employers?
One year on from the results of the ‘Race Disparity Audit’ in 2017, the government has hinted at a new legislation for companies, which could force employers to share their race pay gap statistics. The proposed plan for race pay gap reporting is intended to mirror elements of the gender pay gap regulations, proposing the same threshold of 250 employees or above for mandatory reporting.
This new legislation may be openly welcomed up and down the country, following an enquiry around London’s public employees. Results from the enquiry, put forward by Sadiq Khan, found that the city’s black and minority ethnic public employees were paid anything up to 37% less on average than their white counterparts.
In the first consultation of it’s kind, the government will invite employers to share their views on a mandatory approach to ethnicity pay reporting because the number of organisations voluntarily publishing information on the pay gap for people from different ethnic backgrounds remains low.
We spoke to ELAS Legal Consultant, Jacob Demeza-Wilkinson, about what this new legislation could mean for employers once it comes into effect. “Although the scheme itself may be slightly weak at the moment as a result of its voluntary nature, I would certainly say that this at least shows a small level of progress in this area, and hopefully the move to a mandatory scheme is not far behind. Even though the scheme is currently voluntary, at a time when public scrutiny on employers, and equal pay, is particularly high, it could actually be a good idea for employers that pay equally to sign up and show that they do, so the scheme could still offer employers some positive exposure. It is important, whether an employer signs up to this scheme or not, to ensure that all staff that carry out the same job are paid the same money, whether they are male or female, and regardless of their race. Of course, the law surrounding equal pay is well known following more recent legislation relating to the gender pay gap. Whilst there is no specific law surrounding pay for employees of a different race, the more general discrimination laws set out in the Equality Act will still fully apply. Discrimination is not as straightforward as using racial language towards someone, it goes deeper, and covers an employee of a different race being treated differently, or detrimentally, to other employees. This means that if an employee of a different race is paid differently to their colleagues, they are being treated differently, and detrimentally, and this would very likely lead to a successful claim for discrimination. Given that the maximum potential award for a discrimination claim in the UK is uncapped, this is something that all employers will want to avoid, and it goes to highlight the importance of ensuring compliance and fairness in this area.” If you’re conscious that you may not be following the correct protocol with employees, contact a member of our team today on 08450 50 40 60.