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Outline key provisions on gender equality in the UK employment law and consider their effectiveness in promoting equality for women. Briefly, consider how Singapore compares in this regard.
Historically, employers in the UK discriminated against gender of their workers. Women were paid lower salary than men for doing similar work. Women were sacked for being pregnant or when ‘marriage bars’ operated against married women but not against married men. The key provision of UK employment law is to reduce gender pay gaps and protect females that go into labour.
Under the Equal Pay Act, Men and women that are in full-time or part-time employment have a right to equal salary. The equality act enforces fair salary, benefits and terms and conditions in their employment contracts for the same amount of work.
This help to close up the pay gap between men and female. According to the data drawn by the Office for National Statistics, the gender pay gap is tightening. Some women that are working part time short hours are drawing more pay than the males. However, the top 10 percent of earners are still dominated by men. Highest paid males are paid 54.9 percent more than their female colleagues. This show that employment act is effective in tightening most of the pay gap issues but leaving top earners female out of the equation.
Under the sex discrimination act, it prohibits direct and indirect discrimination in all areas of employment on the grounds of sex or married status. Organisations are encouraged to provide training for under-represented sex.
Employment Rights Act 1996 protects women maternity rights. This help female workers that go on maternity leave retain the holidays they are entitled, similar jobs opportunities and pay rises. Employment law helps women to re-enter the workforce after being absence during their pregnancy period. However, it is estimated that 30,000 women still lose their job every year because of becoming pregnant.
Women are also protected from sexual orientation during employment in the Employment Equality Regulations. This helps to create a better working environment for a woman and make the workforce more attractive for women.
Companies also find it better to enforce gender equality as it helps to portrait a good image of a “good employee”. As a quality organisation, it is easier to attract and retain workers. Hence companies are positive to promoting gender equality. According to statistics from the labour force, there are more women working with an increase of 53% since 1971.
As compared to Singapore, Singapore's labour force statistics states that the employment ratio of male and female is 76.2 to 60.4 in 2016. This shows that there is a slight bias in employment towards the males. Singapore women are as equal to her male counterpart. Singapore has women doctors, lawyers, bankers, entrepreneurs, office workers and legislators abound.
Moreover, According to the Labour Force Statistics in 2014, women earn less than men in all occupational categories except clerical and support. Which is worst than the UK. In most categories, this differential is more than 10 percent.
Similar to the UK, SG women are still under-represented at senior management levels. Directors of listed companies which are top earners are paid 43.2% lesser than their male counterparts. This shows that Singapore top earning woman is also facing salary gaps issues as compared to the UK.
Females workers in Singapore are also penalise for taking maternity leave. Women lag behind after pregnancy and find it hard to join back the workforce. According to statistics, there is a fall-off of employed women in their 30s because of child rearing and caregiving.
Conclusion regarding UK verse SG employment law
In conclusion, we can see that UK and Singapore are facing similar issues on gender equality despite enforcing employment laws. Employment law did not eliminate gender equality issues but help to reduce gender equality issues to a great extent. Organisations are still acting according to their best interest as they have to make the company more attractive to investors and shareholders.