4th July 2008

INFORMATION
UPDATE

 Issue No.  2008/14

 Sentient
              

 

NEW EQUALITY BILL
(YET MORE RED TAPE)
 
You may have seen or heard in the media that the Government has announced a new piece of legislation to be introduced setting out a ‘Framework for a Fairer Future’. 
 
In summary, the Equality Bill will:
  •  consolidate the current discrimination legislation into one Act;
  •  outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods and services.
Consolidating existing Acts seems to make sense although it will be interesting to see if this is achieved without any change to content.  As far as ‘provision of goods and services’ goes, consultation will have to address such matters as age related ratings for car insurance.
 
More controversially the Bill will:
  •  Extend Positive Action
This will enable employers to take under-representation into account when selecting between two equally qualified candidates. This means, managers of white, male dominated workforces will be able to address this issue by giving preference to female or ethnic minority candidates providing they are equally suitable.
and
  •  Render Pay Secrecy Clauses to be Unlawful
In an attempt to reduce the gender pay gap, pay secrecy clauses which are        designed to prevent staff from discussing their salaries are to be outlawed in           employment contracts.
The Government has indicated that the Bill will be written in ‘plain English’ in an attempt to increase understanding of the rights and responsibilities the Bill creates.  We will wait and see.
 
We will comment further on this as it progresses through Parliament.  No doubt we will have to rely on case law to confirm correct interpretation in practice and endure the usual period of uncertainty this requires.
 
If you would like further information on this or any other employment related matter please contact us at info@sentientuk.co.uk or call 08456 446006.
 

 

 

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