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TUC Poll Reveals Widespread Lack of Support for LGBTQ+ People at Work

One in five (21%) workplaces do not have any policies in place to support their LGBTQ+ staff at work, according to the UK’s biggest trade union body. The poll of around 1,000 HR managers, carried out by YouGov for the TUC, also revealed that only 1 in 8 employers monitor their LGBTQ+ pay gap and only 1 in 3 companies who have LGBTQ+ policies have updated them in the last 12 months.


More worryingly, only half (51%) of managers surveyed told the TUC they have a policy prohibiting discrimination, bullying and harassment against LGBTQ+ workers in their workplace. Less than half (47%) said they have a clear reporting route for workers to raise concerns about discrimination, bullying, and harassment against LGBTQ+ workers – even though 1 in 7 (15%) managers have responded to bullying, harassment, or discrimination against one or more LGBTQ+ workers. 


Additionally, just 25% of managers said that they have a policy setting out support for trans (including nonbinary) workers who wish to transition to live as another gender. Furthermore, less than half (47%) of HR managers told the TUC that they have family policies (such as adoption, maternity, paternity, and shared parental leave policies) that apply equally to LGBTQ+ workers. 


Of those HR managers whose workplaces that have LGBTQ+ policies in place, only around 1 in 3 (34%) have reviewed those policies in the last 12 months. More than 1 in 4 (28%) can’t remember when they last looked at them. 


Another huge concern is the LGBTQ+ pay gap. The most recent research suggests there is a 16% LGBTQ+ pay gap, meaning LGBTQ+ workers are effectively paid £6,703 less per year. However, the new poll revealed that only 1 in 8 (13%) of the workplaces the TUC spoke to currently monitor the pay gap between LGBTQ+ workers' pay and non-LGBTQ+ workers’ pay. 


The TUC said it’s not unsurprised that only 1 in 5 (20%) managers said that they have a LGBTQ+ action plan to address inequalities identified through monitoring exercises. “Lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people deserve to feel safe and to be respected at work. But it’s shocking so many workplaces don’t have specific policies in place to support their LGBTQ+ staff,” stated TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady. “Without these policies, too many LGBTQ+ workers experience bullying, harassment, and discrimination at work. A step change is long overdue. Ministers must introduce a new duty on employers to protect all workers from harassment by customers and clients.” 


She added that the “government should also introduce a statutory requirement for large employers to report on their LGBTQ+ pay gaps – in the same way they do their gender pay gaps – with action plans detailing how bosses will address these inequalities.” 


The TUC is calling on the government to introduce a range of measures to support LGBTQ+ people at work, including: 

  • LGBTQ+ pay gap reporting: ministers should introduce a statutory requirement for large employers to report their LGBTQ+ pay gaps and employment rates – with regular monitoring and action plans detailing how employers will address these inequalities. Polling suggests that the LGBTQ+ pay gap is around 16%. 
  • Protection from workplace bullying and harassment: the government must consult with unions on a strategy to make sure workplaces are safe for all LGBTQ+ people. As a minimum, the government should introduce a new duty on employers to protect workers from harassment by customers and clients.

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