Sex and Gender Legislation

Sex and Gender Legislation

Back to “Equality”

Last Updated: November 1st 2023

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UK Sex and Gender Legislation Summary

Within the UK legislation exists to protect both women and men in the following situations:

  • Discrimination against an individual with regards to their marital status
  • Gender reassignment
  • The right for both sexes to have equal pay
  • Immediate, short term dependant care leave
  • Pensions equality
  • Maternity and parental leave
  • Paternity and adoption leave

Please note, separate legislation exists in Northern Ireland

The new Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005 came into force in October 2005. The main changes are as follows:

  • a new definition of indirect sex discrimination in employment matters and vocational training
  • new provisions prohibiting harassment of a sexual nature or on the grounds of sex
  • a provision specifically stating that less favourable treatment of women on grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave is unlawful sex discrimination
  • the extension of SDA protection to people who work overseas for a British employer
  • clarification of the responsibilities of those who provide vocational training and extension of the protection to cover vocational guidance and unpaid practical work experience
  • introduction of an 8 week response time by the employer to a statutory questionnaire
  • a change to the current exception in the SDA that allowed an employer to refuse to offer a particular job to someone planning or undergoing gender reassignment

Taken from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) web site

The above changes only apply to employment matters and vocational training

The following is a list of documents giving detailed information on all legislation relating to women and men:

Help and Guidance on UK Legislation

Following are a number of external web sites providing guidance on UK women and men issues:

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