Employers Falling Short On LGBTQ+ Pay Gap

| General

Employers Falling Short On LGBTQ+ Pay Gap

The results of a survey carried out by the Trade Unions Council were staggering and from an equality perspective did not make for happy reading for businesses employing staff to say the least. It first found that a staggering fifty-three percent of respondents disclosed that their business had not compiled, implemented, or enforced an internal business policy covering family matters such as:

  • shared parental leave
  • LGBTQ+ members of the workforce
  • maternity
  • paternity and
  • adoption leave.

This effectively meant that under fifty percent of those surveyed had a working policy covering these serious issues.

This was not the end of the findings. The survey also questioned influencers in key positions in Human Resources Departments and found that one-fifth of just over one thousand respondents had failed to implement any form of internal policy supporting those with LGBTQ+ protected characteristics. Investigating a little further about half of the respondents had put in place procedures, policies, and practices discouraging behaviour of a discriminatory, victimizing, and bullying nature.

On balance, the survey found that not all employers were bad eggs. However, the report highlighted the problem of over thirty percent of those employers who had implemented such policies had conducted any form of scrutiny over the previous year. Inexplicably, about thirty percent of the respondent had any memory of when they had previously assessed its policies and procedures in this regard.

The survey also interviewed those with management responsibilities and its findings were alarming. It found that around twenty-five percent of those businesses had compiled any policies assisting those members of the workplace who were considering changing from their birth gender into a new gender.

Mind The Gap?

In the workplace by law, everyone should be paid an equal wage for equal work carried out and this has been the position in England and Wales since the enactment of the Equal Pay Act 1970. However, the survey results found that this has been far from the position of those members of the workforce who have the protected characteristic LGBTQ+. The results of the survey were of concern on several levels. Firstly, the survey discovered that if somebody holds the protected characteristic LGBTQ+ they are on average paid nearly £7,000. Sadly, this is not a new phenomenon. Back in 2021, a study by Marieka Klawitter found that gay persons were paid more than ten percent less in comparison to those colleagues who described themselves as heterosexual.

The survey found that over eighty-five percent of businesses employing staff done absolutely nothing to review the pay disparity between their LGBTQ+ staff and around eighty-percent of those employed in managerial positions had put in place any form of strategy which was designed to bridge the gender pay gap. The survey also discovered that around one-fifth of those employed in a managerial position said they were taking any steps to narrow the equality gap between what was termed in the survey ‘LGBTQ+’ and ‘non-LGBTQ’ members of staff.

What Should Lawyers Be Advising?

Lawyers advising employers should be advising clients to follow the following strategies:

  • ensuring their internal LGBT+, parental, adoption, and maternity leave policies are up-to-scratch
  • implement a diversity, inclusivity, and equality culture
  • carrying out regular, periodic and honest reviews of their policies to assess fitness for purpose
  • assist those transitioning by enforcing equality policies
  • training staff members on equality
  • communicate how staff can raise grievances, oppose discrimination and bullying and
  • ensuring the workforce do not feel at risk of retaliation.

The Legists Content Team


#Allen&Overy #BakerMcKenzie #HerbertSmithFreehillsLLP #LewisSilkin #MishcondeReya #Simmons&Simmons #AddleshawGoddard #CliffordChanceLLP #CMS #DACBeachcroftLLP #EvershedsSutherlandLLP #LinklatersLLP #TaylorWessing #TraversSmith #Bird&Bird


[1] Urqhart, Jasmine – ‘A fifty of workplaces have no policies for LGBT+ staff, union – 5th July 2022 –Personnel Today - 'Low flight risk' designer wins age discrimination case against Superdry (personneltoday.com)

[2] Powell, Caitlin – Majority of line managers not receiving LGBT inclusivity training, research finds – 6 June 2022 – Personnel Today - Majority of line managers not receiving LGBT inclusivity training, research finds (peoplemanagement.co.uk)

[3] Urqhart, Jasmine – FTSE 100 firms failing to report meaningful diversity data, CIPD study finds – 8 March 2022 – People Management - 107352 (peoplemanagement.co.uk)

[4] Klawitter, Marieka – Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Sexual Orientation on Earnings – 19 December 2014 – Journal of Economy and Society - Meta‐Analysis of the Effects of Sexual Orientation on Earnings - Klawitter - 2015 - Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society - Wiley Online Library

[5] Williams, Ashley – How to measure LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the workplace – 16 July 2022 - 98773 (peoplemanagement.co.uk)

[5] Equal Pay Act 1970



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