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Equal pay

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Northern Ireland Equality Commission launches equal pay guidelines

New equal pay guidelines have been published to progress the equal pay agenda in Northern Ireland. Equality file contains facts and guidance notes to help businesses become good equal pay practitioners.

Flawed grading system no defence in equal pay claim

In an equal pay case brought by a female cleaner, an employment tribunal has rejected the employer's claim that its grading system justified a pay differential, saying it found no objective justification for the different grading. (29 April 2002)

Part-time working amendments must go further

Government proposals to help part-time workers must go further, says the TUC in its response to the government's consultation on the workings of the Part-time Workers Regulations 2000.

Revised Equal Treatment Directive

The provisional text of the revised EU Directive on equal treatment for men and women sets out new definitions of direct and indirect sex discrimination, and a freestanding definition of sexual harassment and sex-based harassment. Member states will have to implement the new Directive by 2005. In the UK, that will mean amending sex discrimination legislation.

This month's issue . . .

Equal pay continues to command attention. In our feature we examine the recent initiatives and provide guidance on how employers can equality-audit their pay systems.

Action needed to counter wage discrimination experienced by black workers

With research showing that black and Asian male workers are earning up to £150 a week less than their white counterparts, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is calling for the government to take legal action to tackle the problem.

Advocate-General's Opinion in equal pay case

The applicants in Lawrence v Regent Office Care Ltd and others, referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by the Court of Appeal, have lost at the first hurdle in their claim. The Advocate-General's (A-G) Opinion on the case was delivered on 14 March 2002, and found that article 141 EC Treaty did not apply in the circumstances of the case.

Pressure builds for equal pay

Equal pay is firmly back in the media spotlight and campaigners are optimistic that the renewed interest will see a closing of the gender pay gap. Kate Godwin charts the recent initiatives and advises on how employers can equality-audit their pay systems. We also look at the experiences of three organisations that have recently carried out equal pay reviews.

This month's issue . . .

In our main feature this month we examine the types of issues which arise for religious groups, such as time off for religious observance, dress codes and social interaction (for example, rules on diet or alcohol consumption).

Working mothers seen as less committed

Family commitments and colleagues and managers' attitudes towards caring responsibilities are the biggest obstacles to women's careers, according to a new report from Opportunity Now*.

Women face pensions poverty pit

Unison, the UK's largest union, claims that women are suffering a pensions double-whammy because of the gender pay gap and the spread of the two-tier workforce. The union is calling for urgent government action to stop women falling into a poverty pit when they retire.

Women graduates still suffer pay bias

Women graduates up to the age of 24 can expect to be paid 15% less than men, with the pay gap getting progressively wider as graduates get older, according to the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Women win equal pay ... three years after winning their case

Warwickshire County Council have agreed to pay out almost £1m to 85 women who worked in schools across Warwickshire, three years after they won their equal pay case. The council had appealed against the tribunal's decision but have now decided to drop the appeal and pay back pay to the women. [1999] ET/1301481/97

ACAS staff win compensation for years of unequal pay

ACAS has reached an agreement with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) to settle an equal pay claim which was decided, in the applicants' favour, in 1999. [2000] ET/1304744/98

Employment Bill changes

The government's Employment Bill was being considered by the House of Lords when this edition of EOR went to press. The main change from the Bill as introduced relates to the consequences of failing to use the statutory grievance procedure. This has important implications for equal opportunities.

Wide scope for equal pay comparison

In South Ayrshire Council v Morton (14 February 2002), the Inner House of the Court of Session has ruled that an equal pay claim does not have to be confined to the claimant's own employer. [2002] IRLR 256, CS

Welsh equality duty prompts unprecedented reform

The Welsh National Assembly's statutory equality duty has prompted the initiation of equality reforms that would either not have taken place at all or would have taken much longer to be implemented, finds an interim report into the impact of the duty.

Profile: Kate Bennett

Equality practitioners are increasingly casting envious glances at a range of initiatives currently underway in Wales. We talk to Kate Bennett, director of EOC Wales, about how the Commission is taking advantage of the new climate brought about by devolution.

Draft Fixed-Term Work Regulations: An EOR Guide

The government has published its final consultation on the Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002. Draft Regulations have been issued and are reproduced below.

This month's issue . . .

The Employment Bill is currently going through its Committee Stage in the House of Commons, where a number of amendments have been made.

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