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Diversity in 2020 / 2021

In this Law-Now series we wanted to explore how diversity and inclusion can play a part in shaping the “new normal.” As businesses move out of lockdown we are hearing a great deal about how this is an opportunity to “build back better.” The majority of workplace changes since March were fast paced and crisis driven. There is now time to look to the longer term. With that in mind we wanted to look at what the next steps back into workplaces could mean for diversity and inclusion. We know all employers are facing constrained finances and uncertainties about the future. Some sectors have been hit harder than others, and for them survival is the driving force. But amidst all of this, can  Covid-19 be a platform for change? With topics ranging from protecting BAME employees to gender equality we hope this series informs the debate and thinking at this challenging time.

Diversity in a recession 

As businesses ease out of lockdown and look to the longer term, it is inevitable that cost-cutting will mean some projects are abandoned, where they are not perceived as core to business growth or stability. Should diversity and inclusion programs come off the to do list?

How can employers protect their BAME employees?

People of black and Asian ethnic origin are at a significantly higher risk of catching and dying from COVID-19 than other ethnic groups, with individuals of Bangladeshi ethnicity having twice the mortality rate as their white British counterparts, according to a report by Public Health England. Whilst the statistics are disturbing in themselves, what do they mean for employers? In this article we consider what implications, if any, these findings have for employers and what additional considerations employers should take into account in relation to their BAME employees.

Gender equality and the new normal?

The closure of workplaces as a result of COVID-19 has significantly accelerated the move towards flexible working. In this article we focus on the potential unintended consequences of long-term flexible working on gender equality in the workplace.

The impact of COVID-19 and returning to work on mental health

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impact in the workplace, employers are increasingly seeing people being signed off work with “anxiety” or “stress”. According to the Centre for Mental Health at least half a million more people in the UK may experience mental ill health as a result of COVID-19. This Law-Now discusses what legal obligations employers have in respect of employees’ mental health and what employers can do to prevent and support mental health issues during this uncertain time.

Fathers and flexible working post lockdown

A great deal has been written about the impact that lockdown has had on women, particularly working mothers, and the longer term impact it is likely to have on gender equality. But how has lockdown affected men and working fathers? According to research undertaken during lockdown almost two thirds of fathers would like to work flexibly in the future to spend more time with their family. As the Fatherhood Institute explains  “Men’s childcare, rising since the 1960s, is at its highest since records began.” In this Law-Now we consider why the last five months of enforced homeworking for many fathers may prompt longer term change.

The generational impact of COVID-19

In this article we consider the growing evidence of the intergenerational impact of COVID-19, an issue which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. We will focus particularly, on Generation Z (1995 - present), Millennials (1980 - 1994) and Baby Boomers (1946 - 1964) and the different economic and employment challenges they are facing.

The gender pay gap in a COVID-19 world – are we falling back on old habits?

In our previous Law-Now articles in this series, we have looked at the impact of COVID-19 on various aspects of diversity. In this Law-Now we consider why the COVID-19 crisis threatens the (albeit gradual!) progress that has been made in reducing the gender pay gap and explore the opportunities the pandemic presents for employers to change the gender pay gap for the better.

Hold onto the good and keep addressing the bad – the impact of the pandemic on employees with disabilities

In this Law-Now we explore both the negative and positive aspects the pandemic has had on employees with disabilities. We highlight the legal obligations and the steps employers can take now and in the longer term to support employees with disabilities.