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UK to press ahead with gender pay gap disclosure legislation

The British government is to press ahead with plans to force large firms to disclose data on the gender pay gap among its workforce.

Writing in The Times newspaper ahead of a speech to business leaders, Prime Minister David Cameron said the newly announced National Living Wage would play an important role.

"This will primarily help women, who tend to be in lower paid jobs," he said. "It will help close the gender pay gap. "But we need to go further, and that's why introducing gender pay audits is so important."

Late last year, Office for National Statistics figures suggested that the gender pay gap was at its narrowest since comparative records began in 1997.

However Dr Shainaz Firfiray, of Warwick Business School, an Assistant Professor of Organisation and Human Resource Management who researches work-life balance, suggested that disclosure of pay would not be effective in closing the gender pay gap.

"The existing performance-oriented cultures within most contemporary workplaces further undermine the ability of females with more domestic responsibilities to compete on a level-playing field while attaining a healthy work-life balance. Thus, it is imperative that firms place more emphasis on improving the status of females in the workplace through the promotion of more flexible forms of working that enable them to balance the responsibilities of work and family lives and enable them to reach their true potential," she commented.

"While higher educational attainment has provided access to better paid jobs for some women, it has not resulted in a reduction in the gender pay gap as much as one might have expected.

"In fact, a recent ILO study suggests that while the gender pay gap at lower earnings levels has started to narrow, it has increased in higher-level positions implying that the inclusion of more women in professional and higher paid jobs has not translated into more equal treatment in terms of pay."

Office for National Statistics | UK & NI Ireland | women in the workplace

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