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New Stats on Pay Query Rights Released as Lords Vote to Abolish

By Principal Lawyer, Employment & Partnership

A YouGov survey commissioned by Slater and Gordon regarding pay has found that 50% more women than men want to know what a colleague of the opposite sex is paid. The study, which surveyed 3,000 adults found that 66% of women want to know, compared with only 44% of men.

Slater and Gordon said that forty years after equal pay laws came into force, female professionals still fear that they are being undervalued by employers. Men are paid on average a fifth more than women so these fears sadly are justified.

Questionnaires established in the 1970s to help women uncover discrimination, including levelling the pay gap, are set to be abolished by the coalition government, repealing the right of employees to request information on pay. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which is being amended in the House of Lords today plans to repeal the right of both sexes to use questionnaires to ask specific questions such as what colleagues are paid, bonus levels and the reasons why pay levels are different.

Slater and Gordon Employment Lawyer Samantha Mangwana is quoted in the FT saying, “We believe that if women and men knew there are tools available to them to request information on their colleagues’ pay, they would use them. The government’s role should be to publicise how to access this information, not reduce access to make it more difficult.”

The coalition government describes the procedure as 'red tape', although at the same time recognises that more must be done to end pay discrimination, and has committed to taking action. Yet, it is impossible to see how in most cases employees will be in a position to do anything about pay discrimination without first being able to find out this information.

Samantha Mangwana is an Employment Lawyer at Slater and Gordon in London

For related information see Sex Discrimination Claims or call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will call you.