Women’s rights group the Fawcett Society made the call for a new law obliging firms to disclose men’s pay on ‘Equal Pay Day’ — the date after which the gender pay gap means British women are effectively working for free until the end of the year.
READ: The truth about the gender pay gap
But as the act approaches its 50th anniversary, a lack of transparency over salaries means women struggle to know when they are being underpaid or to raise a legal challenge when the law is broken, said the Fawcett Society.
About three in 10 women have no idea what their male counterparts earn, found a poll of 1,000 women for the organisation. More than a third of those who knew how they compared said their male colleagues were paid more.
“If Right to Know were to be introduced, businesses would need protections to ensure that it could not be misused,” said Matthew Percival, CBI director of people and skills policy.
Britain has seen a number of high-profile equal pay disputes, including the resignation last year of Carrie Gracie as the BBC’s China editor after she discovered she was paid less than some male peers.
The pay gap is driven by a number of factors including women’s under-representation in senior roles, the impact on career progression of taking time out to raise children, and unequal pay to male colleagues at the same level.