The UK Government's response to the Women and Equalities Committee's inquiry on non-disclosure agreements has continued with the announcement of proposals including consulting on whether employers should be required to provide references for former employees. This would be the first time that employers could be required to provide at least a basic reference for former employees. The proposal is aimed at preventing unscrupulous employers withholding references to pressure employees into signing non-disclosure agreements. The response also confirms that the UK Government intends to introduce legislation restricting the use of NDA provisions in employment contracts and settlement agreements.
The Government has also published three pieces of research looking at what the barriers to progression are and what works for employers to overcome them. Employment pathways and occupational change after childbirth, Women's Progression in the Workplace and Family friendly working policies and practices: Motivations, influences and impacts for employers look at, respectively, how and why women and men's career paths change after having children; what barriers women face and what works to overcome them; and what motivates employers to offer family friendly policies and practices, how it benefits them and what policy interventions might work to encourage employers to offer them. The research is very timely given the news that the number of working mothers has reached a record high.