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The TUC, CBI and Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have today (Friday) issued a joint call for the government to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. 

In a joint letter to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, the heads of the three organisations say: 

“Introducing mandatory pay reporting on ethnicity would transform our understanding of race inequality at work and most importantly, drive action to tackle it where we find it.” 

The letter – signed by TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, CBI Director General Tony Danker and EHRC chairwoman Baroness Kishwer Falkner – urges ministers to set out a clear timeframe for introducing ethnicity pay gap reporting to help “ethnic minorities reach their full potential in the workplace.” 

TUC General Secretary  Frances O’Grady  said:   

“Everyone deserves the chance to thrive at work, and to have a decent, secure job they can build a life on.   

“But the sad reality is that even today race still plays a significant role in determining people's pay and career progression.   

“This problem isn’t going to magic itself away. Without robust and urgent action many BME workers will continue to be held back. 

“Unions stand ready to work with employers, regulators and government on practical steps to tackle inequality and discrimination in the workplace. 

"Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting is an obvious first step in helping to improve transparency and bring about change. 

“We need ministers to commit to introducing ethnicity pay reporting now and to bring forward a clear timetable for getting it into law.” 

Editors note

The full letter reads: 

Dear Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 

The case for mandatory ethnicity pay reporting 

We are writing to set out our shared priorities to the inter-ministerial group established to consider the recommendations of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. Respectively, we represent millions of workers, thousands of businesses, and enforce the Equality Act 2010 in Britain to ensure that people have equal access to and are treated fairly at work. 

We agree with the Commission’s statement that the report comes at a pivotal moment for the country, at a time when the inequalities facing ethnic minority people are under scrutiny. Outcomes at work are no exception. However we believe the report’s recommendations, in particular those related to pay disparities, could go further in order to effectively increase the participation and progression of ethnic minorities in the workplace and create a fairer Britain. 

Introducing mandatory pay reporting on ethnicity would transform our understanding of race inequality at work and most importantly, drive action to tackle it where we find it. This has been a longstanding goal for all of us. It will enable employers to identify, consider and address the particular barriers facing ethnic minorities in their workplace, and will complement and enhance the work many already do to address gender pay gaps under existing regulations. 

Together we’re asking the Government to make it mandatory for employers to report on their ethnicity pay gaps, building on the successful framework already in place for gender. Reporting, done well, can provide a real foundation to better understand and address the factors contributing to pay disparities. To further enable this, we also support the Commission’s recommendation that pay gap data should be supported by a narrative – comprised of key data, relevant findings and actions plans to address race inequalities. 

Some employers are already voluntarily reporting on their ethnicity data and taking action to address race inequality in their workplaces. While this is welcome and should continue to be supported in the interim, introducing mandatory ethnicity pay reporting will put greater focus on race at work, contribute to a greater number of employers reporting their ethnicity pay gap figures, and achieve the change across the labour market that is required. 

We urge Government to set out a clear timeframe to implement this and encourage you to work with us to develop the tools and resources required to ensure that employers are supported, and that workers are confident in disclosing data in advance of making reporting mandatory. 

In so doing, we firmly believe that this will help ethnic minorities reach their full potential in the workplace, make business more inclusive, and ensure Government has a rich source of robust evidence to inform future labour market and industrial strategies. 

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC 

Tony Danker, Director General, CBI 

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman, EHRC 

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