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Nick Clegg secures new measures to champion equal pay

March 7, 2015 12:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has secured a government amendment that guarantees all large businesses​ will have to publish the difference between average pay for their male and female employees, despite years of Conservative resistance.

In a significant win for the Deputy Prime Minister, an amendment to the Small Business Bill, due to be debated in the House of Lords on Wednesday 12 March will fast-track Liberal Democrat manifesto plans for gender pay transparency within the next 12 months.

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By securing a government amendment, the Liberal Democrats have successfully ensured that ministers on the government payroll will vote in favour of gender pay transparency, despite the Conservatives' consistent efforts to block the proposals over the life of the coalition.

Liberal Democrats have argued for mandatory pay transparency since the coalition was formed but, in the wake of Conservative opposition, agreed to an initial voluntary approach. ​

This was on the condition that the decision would remain under review so that, if a voluntary approach did not lead to more companies publishing the difference in pay between men and women, mandatory reporting would be introduced for large companies.

It has now emerged that just five companies have chosen to publish their gender pay gap voluntarily.

Both Nick Clegg and Lib Dem Minister for Women and Equalities Jo Swinson have consistently argued within government to adopt tougher measures.

The new measures will not apply to companies with fewer than 250 employees.

Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:

"Whilst the Liberal Democrats have made real progress in areas like shared parental leave and extending the right to request flexible working, the labour market is still stacked against women.

"It simply cannot be acceptable that, in the twenty first century, women on average still receive a smaller pay packet than men.​

"We can't wait and we can't dither. We need to sort this out now. Both Jo Swinson and I have pushed for this to happen within government for a long time. Finally, we are now in a position for the government to vote through our party's manifesto commitment for large companies to publish the difference in average pay between male and female employees.

​"These measures will shine a light on a company's policy so that women can rightly challenge their employer where they are not being properly valued and rewarded."