[JURIST] The UK House of Lords on Wednesday will debate a bill [Equal Pay (Transparency) Bill; PDF] recently passed through Parliament [official website] that will require certain businesses to reveal whether there are differences in the pay of male and female employees. The bill calls for the Secretary of State [official profile] to make changes to the 2010 Equality Act [text, PDF], requiring employers with more than 250 employees to publish information relating to employee pay. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg opined: "The labour market is still stacked against women. It's simply not acceptable, in the 21st century, that women on average still receive a smaller pay packet than men." However, another government spokesperson reported that the gender pay gap is currently at an all-time low. If changes to the law are approved, women will have easier access to challenging an employer when they are not receiving fair compensation. Firms with more than 250 employees that refuse to comply with it could be fined [BBC news report] up to £5,000.
The gender pay gap [JURIST op-ed] has continuously affected other countries, as well. A group of UN experts on the issue of discrimination against women reported [JURIST report] Friday that "no country has achieved full substantive equality of women." In contemplation of International Women's Day on March 8, Eurostat [official website], the statistical office of the European Union (EU) revealed [press release] that women, on average, earned 16 percent less than men in the EU, and that the UK has the sixth-largest gender pay gap within the EU.