Clause 65

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:45 am ar 23 Mehefin 2009.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lynne Featherstone Lynne Featherstone Shadow Minister (Children, Schools and Families), Liberal Democrat Spokeperson (Children, Schools and Families) 11:45, 23 Mehefin 2009

Thank you, Mr. Benton, you are very kind. I thank the Committee for its patience.

The threshold for bringing an equal pay case is higher than for direct discrimination—it is more difficult to bring a case. That is because a person must find a real comparator against which they can show that they are being discriminated against, which is not always possible, and a person who discriminates can use the material factor defence where one exists. Neither of those hurdles applies in direct discrimination cases.

Being paid differently because of gender is clearly a detriment. Rather than impose a higher threshold to be able to take a case to end pay discrimination, the Bill should make it easier to take action. The scale of pay discrimination against women should make us favour concrete measures that make ending such discrimination easier. Removing the clause would enhance protection for people who face pay discrimination because of their gender. Where they cannot find a real comparator, or the discriminator finds a spurious material factor defence, the door would still be open to take a direct discrimination case. On that basis, I wanted to argue against the clause.