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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00791: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to address the gender pay gap, in light of figures published by the Scottish Human Rights Commission showing that women in full-time employment in Scotland earn on average 10.6% less than men.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 29 June 2016

It is unacceptable in 2016 that a gender pay gap still exists and that women continue to be paid less than men for work of equal value.

It is encouraging to see however that Scotland is making progress in addressing the gender pay gap. At 10.6% for the mean and 7.3% for the median measurements, Scotland has a lower gender pay gap than the UK (13.9% and 9.4% respectively) and we have plans to reduce it further.

We are using the powers available to us to ensure greater transparency in equal pay reporting in the Scottish public sector. Until recently the law applied only to public bodies with more than 150 employees in Scotland. However, in February 2016 the Scottish Government extended the law and it now applies to public bodies with more than 20 employees.

In relation to public sector boards in Scotland, the Scottish Government will also use additional powers as part of the Scotland Act 2016 to introduce legislation requiring gender balance on the boards of public bodies. In 2015, for the first time, Scottish Ministers appointed more women than men (54%) to the boards of regulated public bodies in Scotland. The Scottish Government does not however, have power to extend these legal duties to the private sector in Scotland but we are encouraging employers to sign up to voluntary initiatives such as the partnership for change. since its launch, 180 public bodies, third sector organisations and private companies have signed up to the partnership.