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‘The Place Where Pay Discrimination is Hiding’: Unlawful Pay Discrimination

Friday 29th May is the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Equal Pay Act 1970. Yet, as recent high profile cases have shown, unlawful unequal pay, more appropriately known as pay discrimination, remains endemic. This report seeks to answer the question of whether gender pay and bonus gap reporting is contributing to the elimination of, or at least the reduction in, practices that contribute to unlawful pay discrimination. The Equality Trust has been campaigning on income inequality for over a decade, and pay discrimination is an important part of this.

The key findings are that:

  • At the current rate of progress, evidenced by comparing the average pay gap among reporting companies for 2019 with that for 2018, it will take almost 200 years before the gender pay gap in the FTSE 100 is eliminated.
  • The 10 worst reporting companies within the FTSE 100 (or their subsidiaries) all have a gender pay gap of over 40%. In other words, for every £1 a man earns, on average, a woman earns 60p, and at HSBC Bank, the figure is 45p.
  • The ten worst gender bonus gaps are in excess of 75%, in these companies for every £1,000 a woman gets as a bonus, on average a man will receive in excess of £4,000.
  • Every FTSE 100 company asserts that it does not have an issue with equal pay, despite many employing recruitment and pay practices deemed ‘high risk’ by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  • Companies with large gender pay and bonus gaps include high street names such as HSBC, Easyjet, Barratt, SSE Energy Supplies and Rightmove.