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Board of Men?
Some studies suggest that organisations are better run when there is a better mix of men and women at the top, and we can only guess whether our recent financial crisis would have been averted if some of our banks had more women in executive roles back in 2008. The government apparently share this concern and have published a consultation paper on the snappily-entitled Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations, due to take effect in 2013. (See BIS Link). Amongst other matters, quoted companies will be required to report on the number of men and women:
- on their board;
- in management; and
- in the organisation as a whole.
The proposed new requirement follows recommendations contained Lord Davies’ review of women on boards. As part of that review, Lord Davies concluded that disclosure of the number of female employees will allow the organisation to understand its workforce better. That is not going as far as quotas of women on company boards, but may be a nudge in the direction of greater equality at the top. Most employers though are not quoted companies and will not be affected by this proposed change.
Meanwhile, as widely reported this week, The Supreme Court has ruled that equal pay claims, which would have been out of time after 6 months in an employment tribunal, can proceed instead as breach of contract claims in the High Court for which the time limit is 6 years (Birmingham City Council v Abdulla and ors). Though an unwelcome decision for Birmingham City Council, this decision is unlikely to open the floodgates to claims for most other employers.
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