The government has decided not to take a mandatory approach to ethnicity pay reporting, claiming now is not “the right time”.
According to an announcement by the Department for Business and Trade, ministers will not be legislating because it may not be “appropriate in all circumstances”.
The long-awaited response from the government finally came yesterday (13 July), following the conclusion of the ethnicity pay gap reporting consultation in 2019.
The document stated: “The government is determined to take steps to help employers address unjust ethnic disparities in the workplace, recognising that disparities emerge for a complex range of reasons and that not all disparities are a result of discrimination.”
The response highlighted that the decision not to make publishing ethnicity pay gaps mandatory was based on a number of factors and as a result of the consultation, its work with employers, the government’s “Inclusive Britain” strategy, the publication of ethnicity pay reporting guidance and other voluntary measures by employers.
It added: “We do not believe that now is the right time to take forward a mandatory approach to ethnicity pay reporting. It is clear that a single reporting model may not work for all employers and that ‘a one-size-fits-all’ approach to action-planning will not be appropriate in all circumstances.
However, the move has been widely criticised by the Trades Union Congress. Its general secretary Paul Nowak said: “There is clear evidence that structural racism plays a big role in determining Black workers’ pay and career prospects. That’s not right.
“Ministers pledged to address this inequality and racism in the labour market. But once again they’ve backed down on their promises. The announcement is another huge let down for BME workers.
“Three in four employers who replied to this consultation and the Women and Equalities select committee agree that mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting should be in place. It seems the only ones who don’t want to make employers accountable for paying BME workers fairly is this Tory government.”