The Bill, unveiled by Equality Minister Harriet Harman last week, will allow firms to discriminate in favour of female and ethnic minority job candidates.
The Forum of Private Business is currently lobbying to award 30 per cent of all public contracts to small businesses. “Provisions outlined in the Equality Bill, such as requiring businesses to first provide evidence that they have carried out an audit of pay equality, will likely slow down the whole process and thwart these ambitions,” sighs Orford.
Dianah Worman, diversity adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, agrees that the government needs to think its proposals through more carefully.
“It needs to spell out exactly how the Bill will work so that employers don’t unwittingly fall foul of the law,” she says.