Treasury Committee publishes Government response to Sexism in the City

The Treasury Committee has published a response from the Treasury on its report on sexual harassment and bullying in the financial services industry.

The Sexism in the City report found that a significant culture of misogyny remained in the sector, and concluded progress was far too slow. The Government response welcomed the report and agreed with its importance and approach, including expanding the scope of the Women in Finance Charter as suggested by the Committee.

The Government’s response includes addressing the Treasury Committee’s proposal to ban the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in all harassment cases. The response highlighted action it has taken to prevent use of NDAs in other sectors, but stated that NDAs would likely not be enforceable when related to reporting a crime to the police.

The Committee also made other recommendations, including stronger protections for sexual harassment whistle blowers, and a ban on prospective employers asking for salary history combined with a legal requirement to include salary bands on job adverts.

The Government will continue to review the whistleblowing framework  to understand how it can be improved. It also recommended that senior executive pay and bonuses become linked to an organisation’s improvement on diversity and inclusion, and that Government and regulators should encourage firms to equalise parental leave offerings. It further supported the Committee’s proposal to reduce the employer size pay gap reporting threshold from 250 to 50.

The Committee also published responses from the PRA and the FCA who broadly shared the Treasury’s view. The PRA added that the effect of removing the bankers’ bonus cap on the gender pay gap should be monitored. Both recommended that the regulators drop their plans for extensive data reporting and target setting, allowing the market to solve this given the business advantages for firms with strong diversity monitoring policies.


Harry Wells