Queen’s Speech outlines plans to tackle gender pay and bankers’ bonuses

The Queen has outlined the government’s plans to tackle the gender pay gap, improve working conditions for agency workers and crack down on bankers’ bonuses in her speech at this year’s State opening of parliament.

Addressing the House of Commons, the Queen spoke of introducing the Equality Bill in order to “narrow the gap between rich and poor” and tackle discrimination in the workplace. The Bill also contains measures to ensure that employers with more than 250 staff report on gender differences on pay.

She added: “My government will ensure that agency workers have a right to equal treatment with permanent staff on pay, holidays and other basic conditions.”

Also in the speech, the Queen referred to the Financial Services Bill, stating that the government will continue to reform regulation of the financial services industry to ensure greater protection for savers and taxpayers. “Legislation will be brought forward to enhance the governance of the financial sector and to control the system of rewards,” she said.

Proposed measures include strengthening the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) ability to take action on pay of those in the industry, following the recent controversy over bankers’ bonuses.

Charles Cotton, reward adviser, CIPD, said: “The Queen’s speech has told us less than this week’s media speculation about how such regulation will work in practice, so the devil will definitely be in the detail. There is a real danger that any regulator will end up focusing on the reward aspects of people management at the expense of the other causes of the crisis, such as organisational culture, performance management and governance. It is dangerous for politicians to overplay the role of remuneration in contributing to the financial crisis and the impact that their reform will have.