Only working together will plug the UK equal pay gap

Julie Mellor is right to highlight the inadequacies of current equal pay legislation (Personnel Today, 24 May).

The current gender pay gap of 18% – and an even more alarming 40% gap for part-timers – provides stark evidence of the ineffectiveness of government intervention so far. Tackling the issue of occupational segregation is the only long-term solution.

Organisations have to wake up to the fact that they need to change the overtly sexist elements that still exist in workplace cultures, particularly around flexible employment.

The view that certain jobs, especially senior management roles, are not suitable for flexible working is accepted all too readily. Even though the legislation allows some employees to request flexible working, doing so can be tantamount to career suicide. Long-hours cultures are still not a thing of the past – UK workers work the longest hours in Europe.

It is time for the government and trade unions to work together more effectively to eradicate the inequality that continues to prevail.
Gillian Hibberd
Assistant director (HR) of Hertfordshire County Council, and chairwoman of Socpo Diversity Network

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