Gender inequality has been at the heart of the government's
agenda for 2016. However, despite the excitement of Christmas
beginning to build, the stark reality of the ever-present gender
pay gap is still a concern for many, especially today, on Equal Pay
Day. According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK has a
gender pay gap of 13.9 per cent for those in full-time roles. This
means that from 3.34pm today (Thursday 10 November 2016) women will
in effect work for free for the rest of the year.
This is not something that is solely affecting British women.
Last month women in Iceland walked out of their workplaces at
2.38pm, 17 per cent earlier than usual, to demonstrate the
practical disparity in pay between them and their male
counterparts. Similarly, on 7 November 2016, women across France
were encouraged to leave work at 4.34pm to protest against the
issue with gender pay.
The issue of pay parity is a long-standing one. As far back as
1968 the sewing machinists who stitched the seats for Ford cars
campaigned for equal pay by going on strike. On their return to
work, the women's pay increased by seven per cent to 92 per
cent of the male pay rate. Many consider that it was this strike
that instigated the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970.
Though the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information)
Regulations 2016 are not yet in force, the Government Equalities
Office envisages that these will be published by the end of the
year, with the first pay period for the largest employers'
review beginning in April 2017. Although this legislation has not
yet been published, we encourage employers to look at their pay
practices in advance so that they can be ready for publication of
the data from April 2018.
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The Court of Appeal has held that where a contract of employment lacks a provision for when notice of termination takes effect, it is effective from when the employee personally takes delivery of the letter containing notice.
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