Equal Pay & Gender Imbalance
Friday 10th November 2017 was #equalpayday here in the UK – the day on which women effectively stop earning parity of pay with their male peers. This is because the full-time median gender pay gap in the UK, based on hourly earnings, currently stand at 9.1 per cent.
It seems shocking to me that such a large pay disparity still exists in 2017.
Its shocking further that excuses are still made in the face of emphatic clear data (think of the BBC pay data). That the data itself is debated at length, simple tweets I write about it are ‘shouted down’ and argued by angry sounding men who it seems don’t want to acknowledge facts which are as clear as day.
Its shocking that in over 30 years since the Equal Pay legislation first came in we’ve made such poor progress. With progress equal pay day should move each year but in actual fact so little progress has been made that it falls on exactly the same day in 2017 as it did a year ago – 51 days before the end of the year.
The World Economic Forum has criticised the UK saying there was a “gaping divide” between the sexes.
The problem is further compounded by the fact that childcare in this country is still so expensive with too few childcare hours provided by the Government, one of the highest costs in the Western World.
The slightly more positive news is that by April 2018 all companies who employ +250 employees will need to reveal their gender pay gap (currently only 85 of the 9,000 or so companies have complied). Lets hope that when faced with the stark reality of their pay disparity these Organisations will start to put measures in place to bridge that gap.
In Politics and in Business the percentage of women at the top are still remarkably few and no-one can have missed the recent news to be aware that women are still alarmingly and regularly harassed in their workplace.
Its a known fact that a diverse workforce is a more productive workforce. Diversity is more than just a buzzword – its key to engaging your business with a wider audience.
With the April 2018 deadline looming we can only hope that we are finally (albeit limping) our way towards pay parity which, in turn, will lead to equality in the workplace and, in turn, leads to a fairer working environment for all.
Brexit and The Special Register…
So, in the past few months the question I’ve been asked time and time again (but not been able to answer) is “What about my Staff who are EU Nationals? Can they Stay?”
Previously my stock response has always been “We don’t know yet but am sure there will be a system put in place to retain people“. As I uttered these words all the while hoping to goodness there would be (surely there would be?!)
And so now we know, or kind of know… Mrs May has announced there will be the introduction of a ‘Special Register’ (not sure if I like the name but hey-ho). It will apparently be arranged on a reciprocal arrangement with other European countries (ie the European counterparts have got to agree to it too) whereby EU Nationals can apply online to stay in the UK – they will then have the same rights as any other non-eu national who has lived here for the past 5-years.
There are, of course, a few things worthy of note;
1. You’ve got to be here legally in the first place (but since, as part of the EU, we have ‘free movement of workers’ not sure what that means exactly – maybe that you are not wanted as a fugitive back in your own country!)
2. They talk to HMRC documents and pay slips being referred to which seems to suggest a period of having earned and paying taxes.
3. She says spouses can only come if you earn a minimum of £18,600 (as at time of writing – suspect that figure will change from time to time if not annually). Note also this appeared to be contradicted by what Mrs May actually said in her speech so that’s a bit confusing.
4. If you haven’t been here for 5-years you can ‘build-up’ to applying for the ‘settled status’ so clearly there shall be levels of entry / residing in the UK.
Some uncertainties are; Voting rights, Healthcare, Professional qualifications and what’s considered acceptable here in the UK. The rights of the self employed.
So thats it – in essence there will be something – a sort of online application where you can apply for ‘settled status’ – it seems to me you have to have been here earning and paying taxes for a period of time. The need to apply hasn’t kicked in yet and wont until the ‘cut-off’ date has been set.
Any EU Nationals who want to sign up for updates on the situation direct from the Government can register HERE