The economic rights of women, including those to equal pay, are
protected by two separate human rights instruments.
The UK is a state party to both, and must take action to ensure that women enjoy these rights. The Scottish Government, as part of the devolution settlement, must take action to deliver on the areas within its powers.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. The Convention "establishes not only an international bill of rights for women, but also an agenda for action by countries to guarantee the enjoyment of those rights".
Article 11 of CEDAW includes the following:
"(d) The right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to equal treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work[.]"
The UK, like other state parties, must submit information about its implementation of the treaty to the CEDAW Committee, the body of experts that monitors compliance of state parties.
- UK's 2008 report to the CEDAW Committee, and the Committee's concluding observations
- UK's follow-up report to the 2008 hearings, as requested by the Committee
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) commits its state parties, including the UK, to work towards the progressive realisation of labour rights, rights to health, education, and an adequate standard of living.
Article 3 of ICESCR is:
"The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights set forth in the present Covenant."
As with CEDAW, the UK Government submits reports to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In 2015, Close the Gap participated in the process by which the UK Government is examined on progress in delivering ICESCR. This work is led by Engender. Close the Gap contributed to the development of Engender's shadow report which addresses a range of issues including occupational segregation, childcare, equal pay, pregnancy and maternity discrimination, and social security.The hearing will be held in June 2016, after which the Committee will publish its concluding observations.
Engender Shadow Report to ICESCR This the Engender Shadow Report submitted to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which Close the Gap have signed in support.
What equality law means for you as an employer: pay and benefits This guidance from the EHRC sets out ways that employers can avoid all the different types of unlawful discrimination with regard to basic pay, non-discretionary bonuses, overtime rates and allowances, performance-related benefits, severance and redundancy pay, access to pension schemes, hours of work, company cars, sick pay, and 'fringe benefits' such as travel allowances.