Labour pledges full equal pay rights for ethnic minoritiesPublished1 hour agoShareclose panelShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesBy Becky MortonBBC political reporterLabour has pledged to extend full equal pay rights to ethnic minority workers and disabled people if it wins power. Currently women have stronger protections on pay than other groups. Under the party’s plans a new Race Equality Act would enshrine in law the full right to equal pay for black, Asian and ethnic minority people, as well as disabled people. But Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch said this would “be a bonanza for dodgy, activist lawyers”. She said the proposed legislation would “set people against each other and see millions wasted on pointless red tape”. “It is obviously already illegal to pay someone less because of their race,” she added. Labour said any changes they would make if they won the next general election would be phased in to give employers time to adjust.Its proposals would also address “dual discrimination”, allowing employees to bring a single claim if they feel they have been subject to, for example, both sexism and racism. The principle that women and men are entitled to equal pay for equal work is set out in the 2010 Equality Act. The act applies across Great Britain but Northern Ireland has its own equality legislation. Pay inequalities on other grounds can still be challenged through a claim of direct discrimination. However, Labour said its plans, which would be subject to consultation, would mean equal pay claims on the basis of ethnicity or disability would be treated the same as those made by women. Make ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory – TUC’There’s a sense black people are being paid less’The party has already said a Labour government would require large employers to publish ethnicity and disability pay gap reports to reveal any disparities in wages between different groups. Companies with more than 250 employees in England, Wales and Scotland have been required to publish their gender pay gap statistics since 2017 but this is not mandatory for ethnicity or disability. The government previously said it did not want to impose new reporting burdens on businesses by making ethnicity pay reporting mandatory but would support companies who wished to do so by providing guidance. Jacqueline Mckenzie, an immigration and human rights lawyer who was part of a taskforce set up by Labour to help develop the new Race Equality Act, said the party’s proposals were “a bold step”. “What we’re not sure about, because we haven’t seen the act, is whether or not it will actually include enforcement penalties and mandatory reporting,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “Because if it doesn’t do that it’s not actually going to make any difference.”Anneliese Dodds, shadow women and equalities secretary, said: “Inequality has soared under the Conservatives and too many Black, Asian and ethnic minority families are working harder and harder for less and less. “This is holding back their families and holding back the economy.”Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Labour’s race relations advisor, said the act was “a vital step towards tackling racial inequality at source”.Related TopicsDisabilityLabour PartyRace and ethnicityMore on this storyMake ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory – TUCPublished25 April 2023Dropping ethnic pay gap reporting ‘nonsensical’Published13 May 2022Employers back calls to reveal ethnicity pay gapPublished19 December 2020’There’s a sense black people are being paid less’Published27 May 2021