Equality Bill forces companies to close gender pay gap

By Vikki Graves

The Equality Bill receives its first reading in Parliament today.  The Bill will impose legislation forcing companies which employ over 250 workers to declare average hourly rates of pay for men and women and the government will be able to take legal action if these declarations do not take place.

Equalities minister Harriet Harman says the Bill will help to end discrimination in the workplace, but the British Chambers of Commerce have expressed concern about forcing businesses to spend more on bureaucracy whilst in the grip of recession.

The Bill is expected to come into force from autumn 2010.