The Government is expected to announce plans to reinstate some EU equality laws, setting out key rights and principles into British law before they expire at the end of the year.
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill comes into effect on 1 January 2024, as part of the Brexit process.
Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula, says “Many concerns have been raised about what protections would remain in place as the UK moves away from EU-derived laws, and equality legislation has been at the centre of this.
“With key employment rights having been at risk of expiring, it is vital that the Government takes this step to clarify that the protections remain as we move into the new year.
“Despite equal pay legislation having been in place now for over fifty years, women are still being paid less than men and are still having to bring claims through the employment tribunals to seek redress.
“Claims brought against Asda and Tesco are some of the more high-profile examples of such recent claims. Women are also still being treated less favourably when they are pregnant, on maternity leave, or upon their return.
“This update by the Government will mean that the law in this area, will continue to apply in the same way as it does currently.
“Whilst some have questioned what has been gained from leaving the EU if the legislation is just being replicated, if it had not done so, it would have meant a loss of protections for women and would have very much been at odds with the prevailing situation.
“The legislation it seems is still, therefore, very much needed. Businesses should consequently continue to ensure that there is no unconscious bias in decision making and conduct regular pay reviews to ensure that men and women in their workforce receive equal pay for equal work.”