Disabled and BME employees paid less by council

Posted On 08 Dec 2022 at 11:05 am

Minority groups are under-represented among senior council staff, leading to pay gaps for BME and disabled employees.

Although the proportion of disabled and BME staff is broadly the same as the city’s wider population, these groups remain under-represented in Brighton and Hove City Council’s upper pay bands.

However, the council’s gender pay gap is -7.9 per cent, meaning that on average, the council pays women more than men.

The figures were part of a report on diversity and inclusion discussed at last week’s Policy and Resources Committee.

It said that there were pay gaps of 7 per cent for BME staff and 4.6 per cent for disabled staff.

The council said: “We have made a lot of progress over the last four years. There are now more BME and disabled staff in our workforce, and we have improved the experience of staff as measured by our staff survey.

“We have introduced mandatory training of all recruitment managers, created diverse recruitment panels for all senior roles and supported applicants for roles with training and development.

“The representation of disabled staff has increased at both middle and senior levels but there is still under-representation at senior level.

“BME staff remain under-represented at both the middle and senior levels.

“We will be working collaboratively with our staff networks and other stakeholders to identify potential issues for further investigation and will publish relevant intersectional data analysis as part of our future statutory annual workforce equalities reporting.”

The pay gap data, produced in March 2021, showed that for the staff at the council who have a disability, the average hourly rate of pay for disabled employees was £15.88, while for employees with no disability it was £16.64.

For those from BME backgrounds, the mean hourly earnings were £15.48, while for white employees were £16.64.

The report also stated that female staff and LGBTQ+ staff are proportionately represented at all levels while men remain under-represented within the council’s workforce.

The proportion of attendance disciplinaries for each group were also included to measure discrimination within the council outside of recruitment.

Green councillor Hannah Allbrooke said, when the committee met last Thursday (1 December), asked why 84 per cent of disciplinaries were for men when women made up the majority of staff.

The reporting officer said that there was a larger proportion of men employed at lower grades at the council and they were more likely to be subject to disciplinary procedures.

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