In Brief

MPs demand all jobs are made 'flexible' to close gender pay gap

Committee report also calls for fathers to be given three months 'well-paid' paternity leave

Radical action is needed from the government to close the gender pay gap, a panel of MPs has warned.

The women and equalities select committee published a report today setting out a series of recommendations to meet the government's target of ending the disparity in pay for men and women within a generation. It comes after Office of National Statistics data published at the end of last year revealed there had been little change in pay rates between the sexes in the past four years.

One of the recommendations is for all jobs to be advertised as allowing flexible working hours to prevent women who give up lucrative positions to have children being forced into low-paid part-time roles.

"Women hold 59 per cent of minimum wage jobs and female part time workers occupy 41 per cent of those jobs – almost twice their share of all jobs," notes The Guardian.

The preponderance of women in minimum-wage and part-time roles is the main reason their pay is on average a little more than 19 per cent lower than men in the UK. Full-time female workers are paid 9.4 per cent less on average, with the difference here likely to be largely the result of women lagging in senior roles due to taking time out of their careers.

Committee chairman Maria Miller (pictured above) said the suggestion may not need a law change and that the Equality and Human Rights Commission should examine whether employers were breaking the law if they did not advertise jobs as flexible under current legislation.

The committee also recommended that alongside full maternity leave, fathers should get three months "well-paid" paternity leave as standard to ensure raising children is not seen as "women's work" and that the government should set up a national "pathways" scheme to help women get back into work after having children.

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