COVID-19 Pandemic: Did it bring back the watch of gender equality?

Winckworth Sherwood Lawyer Aleksandra Traczyk

Shortly after the start of the pandemic, gender equality commentators warned of potential imbalances in women. A year later, we got the stats to back them up. A report released by the Women and Equality Commission on February 9 and data from the National Bureau of Statistics released on March 10 show that women are more adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than men. is showing.

Women’s employment has proved to be more vulnerable than men for a variety of reasons, including the tendency for women to be overvalued in industries most likely to be affected by a pandemic. Hospitality and retail. They also tended to have less secure and inflexible contracts, earned less than men, and played a large part of their childcare and homeschooling responsibilities. A significant proportion of women who became redundant during the pandemic said they believed that pregnancy, maternity leave, or motherhood was a factor in terminating employment. For example; according to last year’s Pregnant Then Screwed survey, 53% of pregnant women believe that pregnancy is a factor in determining redundancy, and 61% believe that maternity leave is a factor.


The pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in redundancy, with the proportion of women’s redundancy increasing at a higher rate than the proportion of men’s redundancy as reported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission last year. The pre-pandemic trend was no longer encouraging in that discrimination between pregnancy and childbirth has increased over the last decade.

Pregnancy and childbirth are traits protected under the Equality Act 2010, and it is discriminatory to disadvantage an employee because of pregnancy, pregnancy-related illness, or attempting to take or take maternity leave.Employee selection for redundancy Because If she is pregnant or on maternity leave, she will automatically be unfairly dismissed.

Women are now entitled to (slightly) more favorable treatment if they are redundant during maternity leave, that is, if they must be provided with the appropriate seats before their colleagues. However, the employer simply waited until he returned from maternity leave and then made it redundant. Therefore, the government has promised to extend this protection up to six months after maternity leave as part of the employment bill first announced in December 2019. The Commission recommended that the bill be issued by the end of June 2021 at the latest.

Former Chairman Maria Miller MP calls for a law that makes it unfair to automatically dismiss employees due to redundancy if they are dismissed during pregnancy, on maternity leave, or within six months of the end of maternity leave. I am. Therefore, it eliminates the need for a causal relationship between pregnancy and dismissal. Similar protection is already in use in Germany.

Childcare has also been found to be an important factor in redundancy. Employers should be aware of the risk of indirect sexist allegations when making female employees redundant or dismissing them essentially due to childcare issues.

Flexible working style

Women also tend to submit more flexible work requests than men. Currently, the minimum length of service required for an employee to submit a flexible work request to an employer is 26 weeks. The Commission recommended that this be a “first day” right. Current arrangements could trap women to work for employers who have succeeded in negotiating rational work arrangements, thus hindering a more gender-equal economic recovery. There is sex. The government has also promised to put the flextime system in the default position as part of the next employment bill. When considering flexible employment requests, women tend to be a large part of childcare responsibilities, and employers should be aware of indirect sexist claims when denying such requests.

Gender wage gap

The pandemic may also have significantly widened the gender pay gap. Enforcement of the Gender Wage Gap Reporting Requirements for employers with more than 250 employees was suspended in fiscal year 2019/2020. Pre-pandemic statistics show that women already have lower wages than men. As a result, during the pandemic, they tended to ask them to be temporarily dismissed to take responsibility for homeschooling and childcare. Employers need to continue to collect data related to reporting wage inequality and may face equal pay for equal work if wages are low for female employees who work on a par with men.

COVID-19 Pandemic: Did it bring back the watch of gender equality?

Source link COVID-19 Pandemic: Did it bring back the watch of gender equality?

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