A fifth of workplaces have no policies for LGBT+ staff, union finds

Figures also show just one in eight employers monitor their LGBT+ pay gap, which currently stands at more than £6,000

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One in five workplaces have no policies to support LGBT+ staff, a survey by the TUC has found.

A poll of 1,001 HR decision makers, carried out in June, found that 21 per cent said their firm had no LGBT+ policy. 

Just over half (51 per cent) of those surveyed said their company had a policy prohibiting LGBT+ discrimination, bullying and harassment.

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Of the firms that did have a policy in place, just 34 per cent said they had reviewed them in the last 12 months, while 28 per cent said they could not remember when they last looked at their policy.

The research also found that less than half (47 per cent) of HR decision makers said their firm had clear guidelines for reporting concerns about discrimination, despite the fact that 15 per cent of managers have had to deal with discrimination against one or more LGBT+ workers.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said the lack of policies to support LGBT+ staff was “shocking”. “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 said.

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“The government should also introduce a statutory requirement for large employers to report on their LGBT pay gaps – in the same way they do their gender pay gaps,” O’Grady continued, adding that action plans detailing how firms plan to address inequalities were also required.

The poll found just one in eight (13 per cent) employers monitored their LGBT+ pay gap, and just 20 per cent of managers said they had an action plan to address inequalities between LGBT+ and non-LGBT+ workers. The LGBT+ pay gap currently stands at 16 per cent, meaning that LGBT+ workers earn on average £6,703 less than their non-LGBT+ counterparts.

Further findings from the survey revealed that only a quarter (25 per cent) of managers said that their workplaces had a policy to support transgender and non-binary workers who wish to transition to another gender.

Meanwhile, less than half (47 per cent) of companies said they had a family policy for workers that applied equally to LGBT+ staff, covering adoption, maternity/paternity and shared parental leave policies.

Darren Hockley, managing director of DeltaNet International, said that policies to protect LGBT+ staff were “critical”, and that “compulsory training for all staff'' was needed. “It’s also critical to make the process easier for employees to raise grievances and challenge harassment,” he said, to ensure employees feel comfortable raising issues.

Another way that workplaces can support staff is to implement inclusive family policies such as adoption, maternity and parental leave”, he added. “Business leaders must also support the use of gender-neutral pronouns in the workplace [and educate employees] to be more aware of unconscious bias to help change viewpoints and build an inclusive culture”.