UK

LGBTQ+ pay gap could deepen as queer workers lose out on thousands, unions warn

Amelia Hansford July 1, 2022
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Angela Rayner, deputy leader of Labour Party, and Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the British Trades Union Congress participates in the 'We Demand Better' rally (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The LGBTQ+ pay gap is at risk of deepening because employers are failing to take action, new research suggests.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is demanding the government take action by introducing statutory LGBTQ+ pay gap reporting.

Research into the LGBTQ+ pay gap has previously found that queer people are paid on average 16 per cent less than their peers. The TUC says this effectively mean they are paid around £6,703 less per year on average.

New polling released by the TUC, which represents 5.5 million workers, has found that this disparity is in danger of getting worse.

A poll of around 1,000 HR managers, conducted by YouGov for the TUC, found that only 13 per cent are actively monitoring pay gaps which, unsurprisingly, means that only 20 per cent plan to address the growing wage inequality.

The research, released on Thursday (30 June), also outlines the lack of funding, attention and resources implemented by employers for LGBTQ-specific workplace issues

Approximately 21 per cent of 1,000 HR managers said they do not have any policies in place to support LGBTQ+ staff.

The polling found that only 51 per cent of managers have implemented some sort of policy prohibiting discrimination, bullying and harassment against LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace.

Just 47 per cent said they have a clear-cut reporting system that lets workers raise concerns about discrimination.

Only one in four (25 per cent) managers said they have a policy that supports trans and non-binary workers and only a disappointing one in eight workplaces actively monitor the LGBTQ+ pay gap.

While policies to protect workers from anti-LGBTQ+ harassment can be found in about half of workplaces, regular reviews are seemingly infrequent and can result in outdated verbiage or regulations.

The poll found that only 34 per cent of HR managers who have policies in place have reviewed them in the last 12 months.

One in four managers who have written policies can’t remember when they last looked at them.

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of Labour Party, and Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the British Trades Union Congress participates in the ''We Demand Better'' rally
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of Labour Party, and Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the British Trades Union Congress participates in the ”We Demand Better” rally (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The polling was released ahead of the TUC’s annual LGBTQ+ conference, which began Thursday.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people deserve to feel safe and to be respected at work. But it’s shocking so many workplaces don’t have specific policies in place to support their LGBT staff.

“Without these policies, too many LGBT workers experience bullying, harassment and discrimination at work.”

As part of its LGBTQ+ conference, the TUC is calling on the government to address these issues by implementing recommended measures that it has outlined.

The first is on LGBTQ+ pay gap reporting, with the TUC urging MPs to introduce a “statutory requirement for large employers to report their LGBT pay gaps and employment rates”, similar to the reporting done for gender pay gaps.

The second is to enforce protective measures against workplace bullying and harassment by consulting with unions on strategies that will ensure no person is afraid to clock in at work.

“A step change is long overdue,” O’Grady said. “Ministers must introduce a new duty on employers to protect all workers from harassment by customers and clients.”

More: LGBT workers

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