Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 distils and extends existing discrimination legislation in order to provide a simpler, more consistent and more effective legal framework for preventing discrimination. Most of the core provisions of the Act came into force on 1 October 2010. The general public sector equality duty came into force on 5 April 2011 and the positive action in recruitment and promotion provision will come into force on 6 April 2011.
The positive action provision will, in defined circumstances, permit an employer to appoint or promote a person (A) with a protected characteristic in preference to another person (B) who does not have the protected characteristic, provided that A is as qualified for the post as B. See positive action in recruitment and promotion to be introduced for further information).
Gender pay reporting: The coalition Government's strategy document, Equality strategy - building a fairer Britain (on the Government Equalities Office website), also announced that the Government is going to develop a voluntary scheme for gender pay reporting in the private and voluntary sectors, in preference to taking a mandatory approach by enacting s.78 of the Equality Act 2010 (which had been expected to come into force in 2013). The scheme will be open to all private and voluntary sector employers, but will be aimed particularly at those with 150 or more employees. The Government has pledged to review annually the number of companies releasing information and the quality of the data. It will assess whether or not this approach is successful and take a view over time as to whether or not alternatives are required, including introducing compulsory gender pay reporting for private and voluntary sectors under s.78 of the Act.
- Equality Act 2010 provisions already in force: resources on XpertHR We provide a round-up of the new and updated resources from XpertHR on the Equality Act 2010, the main provisions of which come into force on 1 October 2010. This includes major changes to the equal opportunities sections of our employment law manual and model policies and documents.
- Equality Act 2010: Government to introduce positive action provisions in April 2011 XpertHR reports on the Government's confirmation that in April 2011 it will enact provisions in the Equality Act 2010 that will allow an employer, in defined circumstances, to recruit or promote a person with one protected characteristic in preference to another person who does not have the protected characteristic, provided that they are equally qualified for the post.
- Are all the provisions in the Equality Act 2010 in force from October 2010? and What provisions under the Equality Act 2010 are still under consideration by the Government? Questions answered in the XpertHR FAQs section.
- Equal pay reporting and the Equality Act 2010 There is a clause in the Equality Act that permits the introduction of regulations requiring private sector employers with at least 250 employees to publish information about the pay differentials between their male and female employees, no earlier than 2013. But that part of the Act has not been implemented for now and the government says it is "considering how to approach this clause in the best way for business and others involved". From the XpertHR Pay Intelligence blog.
Government guidance and documents
- The full text of the Equality Act 2010 and its explanatory notes are available on the UK Legislation website.
- Guidance on the positive action provisions in the Equality Act 2010 is available on the Government Equalities Office website (Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know? A quick start guide to using positive action in recruitment and promotion (PDF format, 338K).
- The public sector equality duty: reducing bureaucracy (PDF format, 113K) The policy review paper, which includes the new draft Regulations, is available on the Government Equalities Office website.
- The Government's strategy document Equality strategy - building a fairer Britain is available on the Government Equalities Office website.
- The draft Employment statutory code of practice (PDF format, 2.27MB) and draft Equal pay statutory code of practice (PDF format, 505K) are available on the EHRC website.
- Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know? The Government Equalities Office website has a range of guidance documents on the Equality Act 2010.
- A fairer future: the Equality Bill and other action to make equality a reality (PDF format, 445K) (on the Government Equalities Office website) provides an overview of the provisions of the Equality Bill, and the legal protection afforded to various groups by it.
- The Government Equalities Office issued a press release Equality Bill will build a fairer and stronger Britain (on the Government Equalities Office website) that summarises its content in brief.
- The EHRC's Consultation on guidance for the Equality Act is available on the EHRC website.
- The previous Government's consultation document A Framework for fairness: proposals for a Single Equality Bill for Great Britain (PDF format, 1.05MB) is available on the Government Equalities Office website together with its response (PDF format, 2.07MB).