In a dynamic legal landscape, staying informed about legislative changes is crucial for employers and employees alike. The latest development on the horizon is the proposed equality act amendments, set to come into effect on 1 January 2024. The Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023 aims to preserve and enhance certain discrimination protections derived from the EU that would have otherwise been lost post-Brexit.
Let’s delve into the key equality act amendments that will shape the future of workplace equality and protection.
Indirect Discrimination by Association
One significant change proposed is the extension of the right to claim indirect discrimination by association. This amendment seeks to cover individuals who may not possess a specific protected characteristic but experience the same disadvantages as those who do through their association to someone with that characteristic. By addressing this gap, the legislation ensures that fairness and equality extend beyond individual characteristics, fostering a more inclusive workplace environment.
The draft legislation also revisits the definition of disability. It suggests that when evaluating normal ‘day-to-day activities,’ consideration of a person’s ability to participate fully and effectively in working life on an equal basis with other workers becomes a relevant factor. This nuanced perspective recognises the diverse ways in which disabilities can impact an individual’s professional life, reinforcing the commitment to fair treatment.
Equal Pay: Introducing the ‘Single Source’ Test
In a move towards streamlining equal pay comparisons, the proposed amendments introduce the ‘single source’ test. This means that an equal pay comparator can potentially extend beyond the confines of the current business, as long as the entity responsible for setting terms remains the same. This shift aims to simplify the process of establishing equal pay comparators, fostering a more comprehensive approach to addressing pay disparities.
Strengthening Direct Discrimination Protections
Another noteworthy amendment extends direct discrimination protection to cover situations where discriminatory statements are made about not wanting to recruit individuals with certain protected characteristics. This protection applies even in the absence of an active recruitment process or an identifiable victim. By broadening the scope of direct discrimination safeguards, the legislation sends a clear message that prejudiced statements will not be tolerated in any context.
Recognising Breastfeeding Discrimination as Sex Discrimination
Finally, the proposed changes explicitly confirm that employment discrimination based on breastfeeding falls under the protected characteristic of sex. This recognition is a positive step towards ensuring that women are not unfairly treated in the workplace due to their choice to breastfeed, reinforcing the principle of equality regardless of gender.
In conclusion, the impending amendments to the Equality Act 2010 signal a commitment to strengthening workplace equality and protection. By addressing gaps in existing legislation, these changes aim to create a more inclusive and fairer environment for all. Employers and employees alike should familiarise themselves with these equality act amendments to ensure compliance and contribute to a workplace culture that values diversity and equality. As the legal landscape evolves, staying informed remains the key to navigating change successfully.
To find out more, read the fact sheet below: