Written submission from Equality and Human Rights Commission (ULM0051)

 

Executive Summary

  1. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. It operates independently to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and protect and promote human rights. The Commission enforces the Equality Act 2010. It encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998 and is accredited at UN level as an ‘A status’ National Human Rights Institution in recognition of its independence, powers and performance.
  2. The UK Government is subject to the Equality Act 2010 including the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which places an obligation on public bodies to take action to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations between people who share a particular protected characteristic, and those who don’t.[1]
  3. Employment plays a central role in improving people’s life chances, but many workers, including women, ethnic minorities, disabled people, and younger and older workers, face disproportionate disadvantage and discrimination at work. As such, one of the Commission’s priorities is to improve equality in a changing workplace.[2]
  4. The right to work and fair conditions at work are also fundamental human rights, captured in a number of international human rights treaties to which the UK Government is a signatory.[3]
  5. We welcome the Committee’s inquiry into post-pandemic growth and the UK’s labour market as an opportunity to highlight the key equality and human rights issues affecting workers and businesses that have emerged as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, and to set out our recommendations for both Governments and employers.
  6. In summary, while the UK Government has made many commitments to increase protections for workers, set out opportunities and funding to build skills, and improve capacity to support economic growth, there has been a lack of urgency around implementation, and schemes do not fully consider the equality and human rights implications, in part because of consistently poor data collection. This places workers with particular protected characteristics, such as women, younger and older workers, some ethnic minorities and disabled people, at a continuing disadvantage in the labour market.
  7. The impact of technological change and new issues such as Long Covid need to be better understood and responded to. The Levelling Up agenda provides a significant opportunity to improve working conditions across Britain, and to address particular disparities. Ambitious employment legislation and strategy is required. Limited access to skills and training, failure to make reasonable adjustments, and a lack of flexible working opportunities should be addressed to avoid limiting older or disabled workers’ ability to access or remain in employment.
  8. We recommend that the UK Government should:
    1. In line with its obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, address the impact of labour market changes on workers with protected characteristics and take steps to ensure that Levelling Up initiatives use public investment and procurement to target disparities in employment and training;
    2. Improve data collection in relation to
      1. apprenticeships and technical education, ensuring it can be disaggregated by protected characteristic, and by impairment type or ethnicity where possible,
    3. the number of workers in the gig-economy;
    4. Commit to undertaking an independent review of the childcare sector and take urgent steps to ensure the availability and affordability of properly regulated, flexible childcare;
    5. In relation to the use of AI in the workplace, ensure that the forthcoming AI white paper from the Office for AI reviews the sufficiency of the legal framework against discrimination or breaches of human rights obligations, take action to address any identified gaps, and consider how the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights can be more effectively incorporated into domestic law;
    6. establish a Single Enforcement Body as a matter of urgency; and extend employment tribunal time limits from three to six months for discrimination and harassment claims under the Equality Act 2010, and
    7. Bring forward its commitment to making flexible working the default.

 

 

 

 

 

  1.  

Our response

  1. Measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ensured there were fewer job losses as a result of the pandemic, and over recent months employment has increased. But many existing labour market trends – such as increased flexible working, automation and AI, and the growth of insecure employment (or ‘the gig-economy’) – have accelerated. Internal research for the Commission shows that these are having greater impacts, both positive and negative, on workers with certain protected characteristics, particularly women, some ethnic minorities, older workers and disabled people[4].
  2. While measures to address gender pay inequality have seen the gender pay gap reduce, pay and employment gaps for women, disabled people and ethnic minorities continue. For example, while the disability employment gap has fluctuated and is slowly narrowing, it remains significant[5], and widened during the pandemic, with disabled people more likely than non-disabled people to be made redundant.
  3. The UK Government has a number of initiatives intended to address these gaps[6] but these need to be brought together in an over-arching labour market strategy designed to address low participation rates, over or under-representation in certain sectors, or over-concentration in certain types of employment status of people with protected characteristics. In addition, more action is required on the part of Government to increase awareness amongst employers of the barriers facing those with certain protected characteristics by, for example, mandating reporting on ethnicity[7] or disability[8] employment supplemented by mandatory action planning, as recommended by the Commission.[9]
  4. We note that the Government has recently confirmed it is not minded to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay reporting, but will work to produce guidance to support employers to report on a voluntary basis. While this is welcome, as are other commitments in the Inclusive Britain policy paper[10], it needs to be clear about what steps it will take to reduce disparities for ethnic minorities if voluntary reporting does not lead to an improvement in pay and employment gaps. 
  5. We encourage Government to consider what steps it can take to address the impact of labour market changes on workers with protected characteristics in the round, so that issues such as job insecurity, pay inequality and occupational segregation can be addressed holistically, in line with its obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty to advance equality of opportunity.

Skills and training

  1. The Commission sees the UK Government’s Levelling Up programme as an important opportunity to secure positive, long-term economic growth and improve employment outcomes for people under-represented within certain sectors, at risk of long-term unemployment, or stuck in low paid, casual work with little opportunity for progression or development. Upskilling, training and apprenticeships are at the heart of levelling up[11], but the White Paper and accompanying funding prospectus, make no reference to equality or human rights[12]. We recommend that this be addressed as the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill passes through parliament to ensure it meets its stated aims.[13]
  2. We are concerned that while the Levelling Up programme may successfully equalise outcomes between regions, it may inadvertently worsen outcomes for women, disabled people, older people and ethnic minorities within these same regions by, for example, putting forward projects which are most likely to favour sectors where those groups are currently under-represented such as construction, the green economy and digital industries.[14]  Steps should be taken to ensure that Levelling Up initiatives use the power of public investment and procurement to target certain disparities in employment.
  3. In addition, despite welcome initiatives such as the Government’s lifetime skills guarantee[15] and the introduction of T Levels[16] to support non-academic routes into employment, other recent policy changes designed to improve apprenticeships, for example the introduction of the apprenticeship levy,[17] have actually led to a reduction in the number of apprenticeships. Poorer outcomes for people with protected characteristics, for example the decline in achievement rates for certain ethnic minorities[18] and learners with learning difficulties or disabilities;[19] a lack of support for disabled people and those with caring responsibilities[20], and continuing occupational segregation remain a key concern[21].
  4. There is also a lack of robust, accessible data on outcomes for apprentices with protected characteristics, and while we welcome the recent announcement to launch a new exit feedback tool so that providers can better understand reasons for non-completion[22], we believe the Government needs to take steps to improve data collection relating to apprenticeships and technical education. Data needs to be collected and disaggregated by protected characteristic, and by impairment type or ethnicity where possible.
  5. It is essential that the Government is fully considering the impact of its policy and legislative agendas in relation to skills and retraining on people with protected characteristics in the round. We urge the Government to use the Public Sector Equality Duty as a tool to advance equality of opportunity and to target investment to create opportunities for skills acquisition and jobs for people with protected characteristics, for example by establishing clear criteria on equality and diversity as a condition of funding.
  6. The need for a highly skilled workforce places big challenges on employers. The CBI estimates that with the ongoing use of AI and automation in the workplace, nine in ten employees across the UK will need new skills by 2030[23], particularly in digital and STEM. In the face of rapid technological change, and an ageing workforce working for longer, addressing skills shortages will help improve productivity and drive growth.[24]
  7. However, the Commission has found that access to training opportunities in employment is unequal, and is affected by a range of factors including age, disability, caring responsibilities, as well as industry or existing education level[25], and discriminatory attitudes on the part of employers (see section on ageing below). Some of the biggest barriers are time commitments and cost: for example 21% of workers with young children cite childcare costs as the reason they are unable to access training.[26] Digital exclusion and poverty also can also limit access to opportunities for disabled[27] and older people.[28]
  8. There are a number of actions the UK Government could take to support working parents and those struggling to access training opportunities. Firstly, it should commit to undertaking an independent review of the childcare sector and take urgent steps to ensure the availability and affordability of properly regulated, flexible childcare. We note that earlier this year the Welsh Government committed to providing government-funded childcare for parents in education and training[29], which the UK Government could consider replicating. It should also work with regional delivery partners and business sector representatives to promote access to in-work training as a condition of funding.

Long Covid

  1. The Commission has concerns regarding the increasing prevalence of Long Covid and the impact that has in the workplace. Current estimates are that around 2 million people are experiencing self-reported Long Covid, with greatest prevalence amongst those aged 35-69, women, and those with underlying health conditions or a disability, as well as those living in more deprived areas or working in education, or health and social care.[30]
  2. We recognise that individuals experiencing symptoms that are both substantial and long-term potentially meet the definition of disability in the Equality Act 2010[31], and there have been two recent tribunal cases where Long Covid has been ruled to be a disability.[32] However, because Long Covid is a relatively new condition and individual experiences and symptoms are likely to vary and fluctuate, it is unlikely that all individuals experiencing Long Covid would be legally classified as having a disability.
  3. To support workers affected by Long Covid, and avoid the risk of inadvertent discrimination, the Commission recommends that employers continue to follow existing guidance when considering reasonable adjustments for disabled people, and access to flexible working, on a case by case basis.
  4. In the meantime, we urge the Government to review all available evidence and to consider what measures it can implement to provide protection for workers and support for businesses, as part of the Health is Everyone’s Business Strategy.[33]

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology in the workplace

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and new digital technologies are transforming the workplace, from recruitment and task allocation, through to monitoring performance, and are becoming increasingly widespread. This creates both positive and negative implications for workers with protected characteristics, and for human rights. 
  2. Evidence shows that AI can embed pre-existing inequalities and perpetuate bias relating to protected characteristics, including sex, disability or ethnicity, simply because it relies on existing data to learn. For example, algorithms used in recruitment, trained on data drawn from mainly male CVs, lead to discriminatory outcomes for women.[34] Research by the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation on the use of algorithms for targeted job adverts shows a similar bias, resulting in, for instance, young women not seeing STEM related job adverts, or Asian men being more likely to be shown adverts for taxi driver opportunities.[35] The use of pre-existing data that replicates existing inequality or under-representation is also compounded by a lack of diversity within AI workforces in Britain.[36]
  3. While the Commission considers that the current legal framework provided by the Equality Act 2010 theoretically gives sufficient protection against potential discrimination, where that discrimination can be identified, there is a lack of transparency around how AI is being used in the workplace. This means that individuals may not be aware that, or are unable to identify whether, they are being discriminated against. Where workers are unaware of potential discrimination they are unable to enforce their rights.
  4. We recommend that the forthcoming AI white paper from the Office for AI includes a review of the sufficiency of the legal framework against discrimination or breaches of human rights obligations, and that Government commits to taking action to address any identified gaps.
  5. Employers also may not be aware of the potential for unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 as a result of the new technologies they are using in the workplace. We recommend that employers should be transparent about how and where they use AI and the steps they are taking to ensure they are compliant with equality law, including, where appropriate, having due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). The Commission is currently producing guidance on AI and the PSED.
  6. The Commission also has concerns regarding the use of AI in the workplace in relation to human rights. Article 8 (respect for private and family life, home and correspondence) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)[37] provides some protection to workers from intrusive forms of technology in the workplace, such as surveillance. Although private sector employers do not have obligations under the Human Rights Act, employment law should be interpreted by the courts in a way which is compatible with Article 8.
  7. Interference with Article 8 rights can sometimes be justified, where the interference is in accordance with the law, pursues a legitimate aim and is necessary in a democratic society.  However, establishing such justification requires a delicate balancing exercise between the rights of individuals, and others such as the employer.  For example, it must be considered whether employee monitoring is necessary and proportionate to address a relevant business need. Such issues are determined by the courts on a case by case basis. 
  8. There is a lack of practical guidance available to assist employers, workers and trade unions to determine which types and uses of AI in the workplace may be compatible with Article 8. We recommend that the Government takes steps to engage employers on the potential equality and human rights implications of using AI in the workplace, and develops further practical guidance on this issue in partnership with key stakeholders to promote awareness amongst employers, building on the existing work of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.[38]
  9. The Bill of Rights[39] would repeal s3 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which requires the courts to read and give effect to domestic legislation in a way that is compatible with the ECHR “so far as it is possible to do so”.[40]  There is therefore some uncertainty as to the level of protection from human rights breaches that would be afforded to private sector employees if the Bill is enacted in its current form.
  10. The UK GDPR has the potential to provide some protection to workers because data can only be lawfully processed on certain grounds, such as being necessary for the performance of the employment contract (UK GDPR, Article 6(1)(b). The Government should consider this to ensure protections are not weakened in the forthcoming Data Reform Bill.
  11. We also recommend that the Government consider how greater transparency around the use of AI in the workplace can be secured, particularly in the private sector. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights contain obligations around transparency and due diligence, which would help regulate some of the discrimination and human rights risks surrounding the use of AI in the workplace.[41]  The Government should consider as part of the AI white paper detailed above how these principles can be more effectively incorporated into domestic law.

Workers’ rights and protections

  1. Overall Britain provides strong employment protections, but there are gaps in basic employment rights for some workers, for example around 2 million women don’t earn enough to qualify for Statutory Sick Pay[42]; there is continuing one-sided flexibility; low levels of enforcement[43], and other promised reforms in the Government’s Good Work Plan have yet to materialise (see section below).
  2. Some UK laws, such as equal pay, race and disability discrimination and the right to return to work after maternity leave, preceded EU anti-discrimination legislation, but a significant proportion of other employment rights in the UK are derived from European law. On exiting the EU, EU derived employment legislation was retained in the UK, which was welcomed, but the UK must now keep pace with positive developments within the EU and not implement revisions that lead to poorer outcomes for workers.   
  3. If the UK wants to capitalise on its departure from the EU it could consider where UK rights can be strengthened to exceed EU rights.[44] An example would be shared parental leave. It is widely acknowledged that take up of shared parental leave has been low[45], and the Government has consulted about potential reforms to the scheme. Introducing reforms to increase take up would not only set the UK apart from the EU as leading in this area but would also help close the gender employment and pay gaps.
  4. We also strongly welcome the Government’s firm commitment that the UK will remain party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and continue to uphold its international human rights obligations.  This marks its wider commitment to and global leadership in human rights and international law, and is part of its obligations following its exit from the EU.[46] Our position is that there should be no weakening of the protections provided by the Human Rights Act (HRA), and no reduction in access to justice if people’s human rights are breached.

Employment Status and modern working practices five years on from the Taylor Review 

  1. Recent research by the TUC suggests that the gig economy has almost tripled in size in the past five years[47], but the statutory framework governing employment status has fallen significantly behind developments in jurisprudence during that time. There is an urgent need for codifications of the law so that both employers and their workers fully understand their mutual rights and obligations. For example, in the Uber case[48] the defining factor governing whether a person is classified a ‘worker’ for the purpose of employment protection rights was held to be the level of control which the employment platform exerted over the driver. 
  2. Whilst these legal tests may appear to be technical in nature they matter greatly, as they determine the entitlement of workers to basic rights such as paid sick pay and holiday pay. Their impact is much greater on people with protected characteristics who are more likely to be in casual and insecure employment, of which one indicator is the number of workers on zero-hours contracts (ZHC). For example, Black and ethnic minority women are twice more likely to be on a ZHC than white men[49] and young people are more likely to be on a ZHC than any other age category.[50] Analysis of Labour Force Survey data for the Commission also shows that disabled people have seen sharper increases in zero-hours contracted working compared to non-disabled workers since 2009.[51] However we note that there is limited data available on the number of workers engaged in the gig-economy, and urge Government to take steps to address this gap.
  3. The Commission acknowledges that zero-hours contracted employment can provide much needed flexibility for both employer and worker, but is concerned that limited access to formal flexible working from day one limits options for many workers with protected characteristics, including women and those with caring responsibilities. Our analysis [52] suggests that this lack of flexibility may be driving more people to opt for zero-hour contracted work where there is limited opportunity for progression or development.
  4. The Government’s Good Work Plan[53] made a series of commitments to address the unfairness identified by the Taylor Review[54] in the UK labour market, centred around tackling exploitative employment practices, increasing clarity in the law, and helping people enforce their rights. However, five years on there has been very limited progress. For example, while it has banned exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts and introduced the right for all workers to receive a written statement of rights on day one, along with a payslip including hours worked, they have yet to implement other recommendations from the Low Pay Commission such as providing a right to reasonable notice of working hours and compensation for shifts cancelled without reasonable notice.[55]  
  5. Further, despite committing to introduce legislation, and consulting on proposals, (for example, ending one-sided flexibility for those on zero-hours contracts, introducing of a Single Enforcement Body to enforce workers’ rights, and establishing flexible working as a day one right), the much anticipated Employment Bill has been consistently delayed, and must be implemented as soon as possible in order to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to increase protections and enforcement of rights.
  6. The Commission is particularly concerned about the failure to progress the Single Enforcement Body to enforce and raise awareness of employment rights. Our recent inquiry into the experiences and treatment of lower paid ethnic minority workers in the health and social care sector[56] found barriers to awareness of employment rights as a result of the use of zero-hours contracts and outsourcing, compounded by issues such as limited support from managers; unclear pay slips and a reduction in advice agencies where workers could access information about their rights.
  7. These findings echo findings from earlier Commission inquiries[57] and demonstrate an acute need for better employment support for all insecure workers, not just those in the health and social care sector.[58] We believe the UK Government should establish a Single Enforcement Body as a matter of urgency.  This would support businesses as well as workers by providing a single source of information and support.
  8. Other measures are required in order for individuals to be able to enforce their rights, especially in relation to workplace discrimination and harassment. Extending employment tribunal time limits from three to six months would particularly benefit those who experience sexual harassment[59], and pregnant women and new mothers, who face real barriers in challenging unfair redundancy.[60] We welcome the recent Private Members Bill (PMB) that seeks to extend protection against redundancy for pregnant women and new mothers[61], and the PMB on Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010)[62] which seeks to address workplace sexual harassment, but note that neither of these vehicles will bring forward this vital protection. We strongly recommend that the Government reconsider their stance on extending time limits, so that individuals experiencing discrimination and harassment are able to enforce their rights. 
  9. Finally, the proposal to introduce new statutory guidance on the practice of fire and rehire is welcome.[63] We urge Government to develop the guidance in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty, with a robust equality impact assessment to ensure that proper consideration is given to people with protected characteristics throughout. 

The impact of an ageing population on the labour market

  1. The removal of the default retirement age in 2011, and changes to state pension entitlement from 65 to 67 years in 2018[64] indicates that the Government expects people to stay in work for longer during their lives.[65] However, despite steady increases in the number of over-50s in work prior to the pandemic, during and since there has been an increase in the number of older people leaving work and there is growing concern over the support and opportunity for older people to access or remain in work.[66]
  2. Older workers face greater challenges returning to employment if unemployed, with 29% of 50+ unemployed people unemployed for more than 12 months, compared to 20% and 13% of those aged 25-49 and 18-24 respectively.[67] Evidence suggests that despite discrimination on the grounds of age being unlawful, age bias in recruitment, poor quality and unsuitable employment support prevent people in their 50s and 60s from accessing and remaining in good work.[68] There is also evidence that some older ethnic minorities are more likely to leave employment as a result of poor health or caring responsibilities than white British workers.[69]
  3. According to recent ONS analysis, disability, poor mental health, and a lack of flexible working that fits around caring responsibilities are all cited as reasons for leaving the workforce.[70] This underlines the importance of employers implementing proper reasonable adjustments, a legal requirement under the Equality Act, and offering sufficient flexibility. Doing so would help older people continue working, and enable employers to retain experienced and committed workers. The Government should also bring forward its commitment to making flexible working the default, and promote this to employers.
  4. We believe greater attention should be given to the impact of menopause in the workplace. Estimates are that around 47% of the workforce will experience menopause transition during their working lives[71], and a quarter of menopausal women will experience debilitating symptoms. This may particularly impact sectors such as health and social work, wholesale and retail, and education where older women are over-represented.[72]
  5. Severe menopause symptoms may force some out of the workforce completely[73] meaning that employers lose valuable experience, which impacts on productivity and can increase costs. Meanwhile many women are facing the loss of their career, and a threat to their longer term financial stability as a result of loss of earnings, which may also contribute to the gender pension gap – which currently stands at 40.3%.[74]
  6. Employers can take action to help mitigate these impacts by having, for example, a menopause policy, offering training and support to managers, and offer informal and formal flexible working options. However, we consider that further action is required on the part of the UK Government to increase understanding of the nature and extent, not only of discrimination in relation to menopause[75], but also on women’s experience of accessing healthcare in England. That way effective and holistic policy and legislative responses can be developed and implemented to support women during menopause transition.
  7. Finally, as noted above, older workers may struggle to access skills and training to enable them to continue working. Employers need to ensure they are offering targeted support and fair access to training and development opportunities in order to retain committed and capable workers.

14

 


[1] S149 Equality Act 2010

[2] Equality and Human Rights Commission Strategic Plan 2022-2025

[3] For example, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women 

[4] Internal research for the Commission, using data from the Labour Force Survey from May 2009 to November 2021 shows that workers from some ethnic minorities have had a greater increase in the rate of flexible working and self-employment than white British workers since 2009, and greater increases in zero-hours contracted employment since 2013. Older workers have had the sharpest rise in self-employment and flexible working compared to other age groups, while younger workers have had the fastest rate of growth in zero-hours contracts. Disabled people have seen sharper increases in rates of flexible working, self-employment and zero-hours contracted working compared to non-disabled workers, and while women are more likely to use flexible working arrangements, since 2009 the use of flexible working arrangements has been increasing amongst men at a faster rate.

[5] In the UK, 81% of non-disabled people aged 16–64 were in employment in late 2020, compared with 52% of disabled people. House of Commons Library, May 2021 Disabled People in Employment Briefing Paper

[6] UK Government, July 2021 Health is Everyone’s Business; UK Government, July 2021 National Disability Strategy; UK Government, March 2022 Inclusive Britain; UK Government, September 2021 Plan for Jobs.

[7] UK Government, January 2019 Consultation on Ethnicity Pay Reporting.

[8] UK Government, December 2021 Consultation on Disability Workforce Reporting.

[9] Equality and Human Rights Commission, January 2019 Our Response to the Consultation on Ethnicity Pay Reporting; Equality and Human Rights Commission, March 2022, Disability Workforce Reporting Response.

[10] UK Government, March 2022 Inclusive Britain

[11] House of Commons Library(2022), Levelling up – what are the Governments proposals

[12] UK Government, February 2022 Levelling Up the United Kingdom; UK Government, March 2022 Levelling Up Fund round 2 prospectus

[13] Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

[14] As the Women & Equalities Committee noted in 2021,”…the Government’s priorities for recovery are heavily gendered in nature. Investment plans that are skewed towards male-dominated sectors have the potential to create unequal outcomes for men and women, exacerbating existing inequalities. These disparities are stark - 20% of workers in digital are women, in the green economy 20%. STEM 25% and construction 18%. Women and Equalities Committee, January 2021 Unequal impact?

[15] UK Government, April 2021 Hundreds of free qualifications on offer to boost skills and jobs

[16] UK Government, June 2022 Introduction of T Levels

[17] Equality and Human Rights Commission, December 2021 Access to employment – UK Government assessment

[18] UK Government, National Achievement Rate Tables March 2020 shows a decrease of 4.4% in achievements for ethnic minority apprentices between 2017/18 and 2018/19

[19] UK Government, January 2022 Apprenticeships and Traineeships: data guidance shows that in 2020/21 learners with a learning difficulty or disability (LLDD) had an achievement rate of 54.6% in comparison with those who didn’t have an LLDD achieving 58.1% but data on other impairment types appears to be unavailable.

[20] UK Government, February 2019 FE learners and apprentices study: reasons for non-completion

[21] Equality and Human Rights Commission, December 2021 Human Rights Tracker: progress assessment on access to employment

[22] UK Government, June 2022 Apprenticeship standards achievement rate ambition

[23] CBI, October 2020 Learning for Life: funding a world class adult education system

[24] McKinsey, May 2020 To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now

[25] Lloyds Bank, September 2021 Essential Digital Skills Index

[26] Analysis of the Cardiff University Skills and Employment Survey 2017 show ed that 21% of working parents in the UK felt childcare costs to be a barrier to accessing training.

[27] Office for National Statistics, March 2019 Exploring the UK’s digital divide.

[28] Centre for Ageing Better, 2022 Digital Inclusion

[29] Welsh Government, March 2022 Childcare Offer extended as providers receive funding boost

[30] Office of National Statistics, June 2022 Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus

[31] S6 Equality Act 2010

[32] The first, Razors Edge Group Limited v Matthews, found that the claimant was suffering from a physical impairment which was substantial in nature, and that it would be reasonable to conclude it would well last longer than 12 months making the claimant a disabled person.

The second, Mr T Burke v Turning Point Scotland, found that the claimant met the definition of disability as the substantial adverse effect of his condition was likely to be long term. 

[33] UK Government, July 2021 Health is Everyone’s Business

[34] European Institute for Gender Equality, April 2022 Artificial intelligence and gender equality

[35] Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, November 2020 Review into Bias in Algorithmic Decision-Making

[36] Research carried out for the UK Government shows that there is very low diversity in AI workforces in the UK, with over one half of the surveyed firms employing no women and two in five firms having no employees from ethnic minorities. UK Government, May 2021 Understanding the UK AI Labour Market.

[37] Equality and Human Rights Commission, Article 8: respect for your private and family life

[38] Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation and Recruitment and Employment Confederation, December 2021 Data-Driven Tools in Recruitment Guidance

[39] UK Government, June 2022 Bill of Rights

[40] S3 Human Rights Act 1998

[41] UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

[42] Equality and Human Rights Commission, May 2020 Evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee inquiry on the impact of coronavirus on businesses and workers

[43] Trades Union Congress, June 2017 TUC Response to Taylor Review Consultations

[44] European Commission, 2017 Paternity and parental leave policies across the European Union

[45] Maternity Action, May 2021 Reform Shared Parental Leave

[46] The Withdrawal Agreement, Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, Article 2; and The Trade and Cooperation Agreement, Article 763.

[47] Trades Union Congress, November 2021 Gig economy workforce in England and Wales has almost tripled in last five years .

[48] Supreme Court, February 2021 Uber BV and others (Appellants) v Aslam and others (Respondents)

[49] Trades Union Congress, March 2022 TUC: BME women twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts as white men

[50] Office for National Statistics, May 2022 People in employment on zero hours contracts

[51] Internal research for the Commission

[52] Ibid

[53] UK Government, December 2018 Good Work Plan

[54] UK Government, July 2017 Good Work: the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices

[55] Equality and Human Rights Commission, July 2022 Experiences from health and social care: the treatment of lower-paid ethnic minority workers

[56] https://equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/experiences-health-and-social-care-treatment-lower-paid-ethnic-minority-workers

[57] Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2008 Inquiry into recruitment and employment in the meat and poultry processing industry; Equality and Human Rights Commission, August 2014 The Invisible Workforce: Employment Practices in the Cleaning Sector

[58] Trades Union Congress, June 2017 The Gig is Up

[59] Equality and Human Rights Commission, March 2018 Turning the Tables: ending sexual harassment at work

[60] Equality and Human Rights Commission, May 2018 Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Research Findings

[61] Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill

[62] Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill

[63] UK Government, March 2022 New statutory code to prevent unscrupulous employers using fire and rehire tactics

[64] Age UK, April 2022 Changes to State Pension Age

[65] UK Government, February 2017 Fuller Working Lives: a partnership approach

[66] Centre for Ageing Better, Everyone Has the Right to a Good Later Life: Our Strategy 2022-2025.

[67] Rest Less, January 2021 Unemployed Over 50s Are Two and a Half Times As Likely As Other Age Groups to Be Unemployed for At Least Two Years

[68] Ibid

[69] Trades Union Congress, February 2022 Older workers after the pandemic: creating an inclusive labour market

[70] Office for National Statistics, March 2022 Reasons for workers aged over 50 years leaving employment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic

[71] House of Commons Library, June 2021Support for people experiencing menopausal symptoms

[72] House of Commons Library, March 2022 Women and the UK Economy

[73] CIPD/Bupa, May 2021A Guide to Managing Menopause at Work: Guidance for line managers

[74] Prospect Union, September 2021 What is the Gender Pension Gap?

[75] We note that the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into Menopause and the Workplace is due to report in due course. That will provide a robust evidence base upon which Government can take action.