The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has stated that all jobs should be advertised as available for flexible working to both male and female employees, which would help to close the gender pay gap.
This change would benefit both women and disabled people who are more likely to need flexible working and who often feel they should take part-time employment with a lower salary. The EHRC has commented that advertising job shares and working from home will be key to boosting women's salaries, as British women earn on average 18% less than men for doing the same job.
The proposal has come a month after the BBC revealed that its top male presenter was paid five times more than its best paid female presenter, which triggered disapproval from the public and led to criticism against the BBC.
The EHRC also suggested that extra paternity leave would help to reduce inequality and that both men and women should be encouraged to share childcare duties. Fathers should be offered well-paid "use it or lose it" paternity leave to relieve the pressure on mothers who stall their careers when having to take time-off to care for their children.
Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair of the EHRC, has said: “We need new ideas to bring down pay gaps – it’s not just about more women at the top”. Waters agrees that female representation is important in tackling the issue, but advises that solving the pay gap is more complex, and commented that the process has been “painfully slow” and therefore a “radical change” is needed, otherwise we will be having the “same conversation for decades to come".
The EHRC stated that the government's campaign to encourage gender equality in the workplace had received little or no response because, despite large businesses being required to report pay discrepancies between male and female employees as of April this year, many companies fail to recognise they have a gender pay gap at all and therefore take no action to rectify the situation; some businesses simply do not see it as a priority.