Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting petition reaches more than 100,000 signatures

A petition calling for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reportingfor UK firms with 250 or more staff has reached more than 100,000 signatures, meaning it will be considered for debate in parliament.

The petition, created on the Government’s portal, urged the importance of introducing an ethnicity-based pay gap reporting framework similar to that already in place for the gender pay gap. It followed Black Lives Matters protests in cities across the UK.

The petition – launched in March, before the death of George Floyd in the US triggered the current wave of Black Lives Matter protests – reached 100,000 signatures, the threshold at which parliament will consider holding a debate on the issue.

As the Black Lives Matter movement has continued to press for equality in the US and elsewhere, companies seeking to support equal rights have come under increasing scrutiny about the make-up of their boards and their commitment to paying and treating non-white employees equally.

A UK Government consultation on ethnicity pay reporting closed in January 2019, but the outcome is yet to be published. The Government is yet to respond to the petition and a date for the parliamentary debate has not been set.

The ethnicity pay gap petition followed increasing pressure for leaders to take action on this issue. In March this year, calls for ethnicity pay gap reporting were renewed as research revealed young people with BAME backgrounds were 47% more likely to work zero-hours contractsthan their white counterparts, and were 10%  more likely to hold a second job.

Earlier this year the Government suspended gender pay gap reporting requirements to ease the burden on organisations dealing with the repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the number of organisations reporting their gender pay data this April was half that of last year. The average pay gap increased from 11.9% to 12.9%.

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