Clause 72

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

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Discussions with colleagues

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of John Penrose John Penrose Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

The clause is important and I wish merely to put on the record my party’s support for it. As the explanatory note says, it is designed

“to protect people who discuss their pay with colleagues” and to ensure that if any firm seeks to impose a pay secrecy clause, which might be a mechanism for covering up gender pay inequality, it does not work and cannot be applied. I state on the record my party’s thorough support for the clause. It will be particularly important when we come to discuss the wider issue of gender pay audits in clause 73. It is, in our view, a thoroughly sensible and proportionate way of attacking part of the problems of the gender pay gap. It is entirely reasonable and proportionate to the problem in hand. I just wanted to ensure that it was on the record that my party is thoroughly in favour of the clause and will support it.

Photo of Lynne Featherstone Lynne Featherstone Shadow Minister (Children, Schools and Families), Liberal Democrat Spokeperson (Children, Schools and Families)

I, too, welcome the clause. By introducing it, the Government will have rolled back some of the disparities and the secrecy that there has been around pay since time immemorial. That is one of the great inhibitors to individuals being able to know whether they have something to be aggrieved about. The clause is a start but, when we come to the next clause, we shall expand on the issue far more widely.

Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office

I am grateful that both Opposition parties have said that they support the clause. The Government think that it is necessary and a good move forward, as they do. For the sake of clarity, I emphasise that the clause does not require anyone to disclose their pay if they do not want to. It does not stop employers preventing employees from discussing their pay with or disclosing it to competitors or other people who are not colleagues of the employee, so it should not have any unintended consequences. We think, as colleagues do, that the clause is a useful tool to promote pay transparency and hence equality.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 72 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.