EQUALITY ACT 2010 IN EFFECT FROM 1ST OCTOBER 2010
Coalition Government agrees to continue with timetable for the Equality Act 2010.
Despite the opposition of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MP’s to certain elements of the Equality Act 2010, prior to receiving Royal Assent, the Government Equalities Office (‘GEO’) confirmed over the weekend that the timetable for implementing the main provisions of the Equality Act 2010 (‘the Act’), ass proposed by the former Labour Government, will go ahead as planned on 1 October 2010. The Act simplifies the current laws and puts them altogether in one piece of legislation.
According to the GEO’s website the provisions of the Act will come into force at different times “to allow for the people and organisations affected by the new laws to prepare for them”. It is understood that the consolidation of numerous pieces of existing discrimination and equal pay legislation into one Act will be in place from October. However it is still uncertain whether the Government will implement the provisions regarding gender pay reporting.
Gender Pay Reporting
Gender pay reporting is one of the most controversial provisions of the Act. The Conservatives have always been publicly opposed to gender pay gap reporting. The Act as it currently stands will make it possible for the Government to require all employers with more than 250 staff to report their gender pay gap from 2013 (i.e. the difference between men and women’s pay), if sufficient progress on reporting has not already been made voluntarily.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary and Minister for Equality, has confirmed that the Government will go ahead with a ban on secrecy clauses that prevent employees from discussing pay.
The law has been made stronger in the area of disability discrimination. There will be a slightly different test of what “disability” means. When the new law comes in it will be easier for someone to show that they have difficulty carrying out day-to-day activities and therefore they come under the definition of a “disabled” person and are protected under the Act.The Act also protects disabled persons against “indirect discrimination” for the first time. When the Act comes in it will be easier to make a claim for discrimination that happens because of something connected to a persons disability.
The Act does not introduce any new “Protected Characteristics”, which is how the various aspects of the current discrimination legislation are defined, and as such UK law will continue to protect against discrimination based on: Race Sex Sexual orientation (whether being lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual) Disability (or because of something connected with their disability Religion or belief Being a transsexual person (i.e. where someone has changed, is changing or has proposed to change their sex – called “gender reassignment” in law) Having just had a baby or being pregnant Being married or in a civil partnership (this applies only at work or if someone is being trained for work); and Age (this applies only at work or if someone is being trained for work). Consultation
At present the GEO have launched a four week consultation period to consider the new forms and guidance under the Act. The consultation closes on 13 July 2010. More information on this subject can be found in the attached guidance issued by the Government Equalities Office in conjunction with the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Equality and Diversity Forum.
If you would like to discuss how the Act will affect you please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: Chelsea Office: 020 7228 2020 or Knightsbridge Office: 020 7095 0930.