Speculation over negative feedback for Single Equality Bill

The omission of the Single Equality Bill from last month’s Queen’s speech has prompted speculation that the legislation has met with negative feedback during consultation on the green paper which included plans to extend employers’ responsibility.

The Employers’ Forum on Disability said it had been led to believe that the Bill was due to be read at the opening of this Parliament and that it had been told by a government spokesperson that this has now been delayed until the next Queen’s Speech in November 2008.

However, a spokesperson from the government’s Equalities Office told Employee Benefits that the Bill has not been delayed and that it is still due to be introduced within this Parliament.

She added that ministers want to thoroughly consider the 4,000 responses to the consultation, which closed in September, and feed these into the final Bill.

Joanne Hindle, corporate services director at provider firm Unum, had also expected the Bill to be mentioned in the Queen’s Speech. “My own thinking is presumably they discovered there wasn’t the unanimity of views they’d hoped for,” she said.

She added, for example, there had been concerns around what would be expected of employers if proposals to extend ‘reasonable adjustment’ beyond disability to ‘any form of discrimination’ went ahead.

Currently, under the Disability Discrimination Act employers must make a ‘reasonable adjustment’ for somebody with a disability.