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. 

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