Once again, the government has had enough of experts.
The government has rejected the evidence-based recommendations of the Women and Equalities Committee, despite its pledge to end the pay gap in a generation.
The committee of MPs published a report in March 2016, proposing a series of structural reforms to tackle the pay gap. Based on extensive consultation with stakeholders in business, academia and trade unions, its recommendations particularly focussed on equalising care responsibilities, encouraging flexible work and supporting women over 40 back into work.
However, the government response, published today, dismisses most of these 17 recommendations. It maintains that existing schemes around pay gap reporting and shared parental leave are adequate, despite evidence that those measures won’t drive sufficient behavioural change.
‘The Government says there is no place for a gender pay gap in modern Britain and has restated its pledge to end the pay gap within a generation,’ commented committee chair and Conservative MP Maria Miller.
“But without effectively tackling the key issues of flexible working, sharing unpaid caring responsibilities, and supporting women aged over 40 back into the workforce, the gender pay gap will not be eliminated.
“We made practical, evidence-based recommendations to address these issues. They were widely supported by a range of stakeholders including businesses, academics, and unions. It is deeply disappointing that our recommendations have not been taken on board by Government.
From April 2018, companies of over 250 employees will have to produce detailed data on pay inequality. But research suggests that at the current rate of change, research shows that equal pay won’t be achieved until 2041.
Next week, the committee will question women and equalities secretary Justine Greening on the government’s ‘inadequate response’ to its recommendations.
They have also issued a call for evidence on the government response.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.