The Employment Lawyers’ Association (ELA) welcomes the introduction of ethnicity pay reporting in its response, on behalf of its members, to the BEIS consultation

22 January 2019

It is understood that the main purpose of the reporting requirement is for employers to actively monitor recruitment, retention and progression of staff across all ethnicities to ensure that diversity policies are working.  However, in its response, ELA recognises that pay reporting may be a blunt tool. For it to be meaningful, numbers depend on narrative and contextualisation relevant to the reporting employer or sector; as seen with Gender Pay Gap reporting. The ultimate approach regarding Ethnicity Pay Reporting may need to be developed and refined over time, ELA recommends.

In its response, ELA proposes that employers be required to report the percentage of different ethnic groups within each pay quartile in order to demonstrate progression of ethnic groups at work in any given year; and whether representation of ethnic groups improves in later years.  Only the very largest employers (5,000+ employees) should provide a headline ethnicity pay gap figure to ensure that statistics produce a meaningful result. 

Kiran Daurka, co-chair of ELA’s working party and partner at Leigh Day, said:
“We hope that pay reporting creates a clear sense for employers that inclusion and diversity is more than just ‘nice to have’; and instead acts as a catalyst to ensure business embrace it as an essential.  It is a very important step towards focusing employers on fair representation at all levels of an organisation.

“ELA is mindful that many employers do not already collect ethnicity data and we would recommend a reasonable lead-in period to allow employers to start introducing and implementing classification systems using the 2011 Census categories.

“We recommend that the government collates and publishes ethnicity pay gap figures across sectors to ensure that meaningful data is used.”

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