Private firms received a let-off when the Equality Bill was laid before Parliament – as stringent transparency measures for employee reporting passed them by.
Only public sector employers and those firms seeking government contracts – less than a third of the private sector – will be required to publish statistics on their gender pay gap, and disabled and minority ethnic workforce.
However, the Bill promised to “review progress on transparency and consider, over the next five years, using existing legislation for greater transparency in company reporting on equality”.
Secrecy clauses that prevent people discussing their pay will also be banned by the Bill.
Both public and private sector employer groups hit out at the transparency drive.
John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, said: “The mandatory disclosure of meaningless statistics should not be part of the government’s plans. This would be no more than gesture politics.”
Alan Warner, lead on communications and talent management for the Public Sector People Managers’ Association and corporate director of people and property at Hertfordhire County Council, said: “We should avoid being diverted into gathering statistics and recording information without a clear idea of how we’re going to use it.”
Disability charity Scope called for reporting duties to be applied across the private sector, but said firms should want to volunteer their statistics.