With International Women’s Day fast approaching, Stephanie Wiggans, Solicitor at Napthens, encourages all employers to look at what more can be done in the workplace to support women and to strive for inclusive workforce
The 8th March marks International Women’s Day. Whilst this is a day to celebrate the achievements of women and the progress that has been made over the years, it highlights the issues that women still face in the 21st century. There has been a strong movement towards equality, however it is clear that there is still a long way to go.
In recognition of the huge progress that has been made, and to celebrate International Women’s Day, we encourage all employers to evaluate what more can be done in the workplace to support women and ensure an inclusive workforce. We are aware of the struggles that females are still dealing with, and we have considered some of the most prevalent issues that women still face.
Gender Pay Gap and Equal Pay
It was recently reported by the Office for National Statistics that the Gender Pay Gap stood at 7.9% in April 2021 with female employees earning a median weekly pay of £543, against a male median weekly pay of £619. We have seen movement in recent years to close this gap, however there is still a long way to go.
Women are more likely to be placed in junior roles and struggle to work their way up the ladder and this may be for a variety of reasons. More common reasons include periods of absence due of maternity leave or other gaps in their career to take care of children and the need to work part time to accommodate childcare.
As a reminder, all businesses with a headcount of 250 or more must comply with regulations on gender pay gap. Please refer to the Gender Pay Reporting Policy and Procedure for more details.
One of the positives that we have seen from the pandemic is employers’ ability to embrace hybrid working models and allowing more flexibility to their staff.
Naturally, women are more likely to make a flexible working request to help with childcare responsibilities. You should familiarise yourself with the Flexible Working Policy and Procedure to make sure that you are familiar with the process so that any requests are handled appropriately.
If you are unable to agree to a flexible working request made by an employee (whether male or female), you should consider other ways in which you can support them.
Unfortunately, menopause is still a taboo subject and is not openly discussed in the workplace. It is crucial that employers work towards creating a safe and supportive environment at work, to allow women to speak out about menopause and how it is affecting them. Employers should be supportive of women who are experiencing menopause symptoms and have an open-door policy when it comes to employees’ wellbeing.
Where menopause symptoms are more serious, employers may need to consider reasonable adjustments such as allowing a more flexible work pattern, offering increased breaks and adjusting uniform requirements.
We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the Menopause Policy and Procedure for more details.
Not just today, but for always
The beauty of International Women’s Day is that it provides a key moment to not just highlight where improvements can be made in the workplace, but to celebrate success too. So, use this day to amplify and reinforce all the positive work you are doing to help create an inclusive world for everyone today and in the future.