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Robert Marsh

Robert Marsh is a Senior Associate in Baker McKenzie London office.

In an article for PLC Magazine, Monica Kurnatowska and Rob Marsh outline employers’ obligations under the new EU Pay Transparency Directive. It considers key elements including pay reporting, pay transparency, pay assessments and equal value, and remedies and enforcement as well as the practical implications for employers in the EU and in the UK in the light of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The European Parliament adopted a proposal on 2 February seeking potentially far-reaching changes to the current European Works Council (EWC) Directive. These include strengthening the information and consultation rights of EWCs and improving enforcement by introducing GDPR-level fines for non-compliance and a risk of injunctions for failure to inform and consult.

Equal pay for men and women has been enshrined in UK law since 1970. Since then, and particularly since the turn of the century, equal pay claims have tended to take the form of mass claims in the public and retail sectors. In recent years, however, there has been renewed focus on individual equal pay claims. We expect that the Financial Conduct Authority will step up its scrutiny of equal pay and remuneration policies.

A number of reports have cited the disproportionately negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employment and earnings of women. There is a risk that the effects of the pandemic could further entrench preexisting inequalities, and that the economic impact of the pandemic on businesses could push pay equality down the agenda. Instead, we see the return to “normality” as the perfect opportunity to take stock and identify where inequality can be tackled.