Equality Act 2010: what’s changing?

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The Equality Act 2010 will be amended after the Government published draft legislation that will affect those in England, Wales and Scotland.

The proposed change, taking effect from 1st January 2024, has been put in place to retain discrimination protections derived from EU law which would have otherwise ceased at the end of 2023 due to Brexit.

How employment law will be affected by the changes

In the draft legislation of The Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023, the following changes are due to come into force, affecting both employees and employers:

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and maternity

  • Special treatment will be given to women in connection with pregnancy, childbirth or maternity.
  • Breastfeeding will become a protected characteristic of sex in the workplace.
  • Women will be protected from unfavourable treatment after they return from maternity leave where that treatment is in connection with the pregnancy or a pregnancy-related illness occurring before their return.
  • Women will be protected against pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace where they have an entitlement to maternity leave which is equivalent to compulsory, ordinary or additional maternity leave under the Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999 (MAPLE Regulations).

Blog | Breastfeeding and returning to work: what are my rights?


  • A Claimant without a protected characteristic who suffers a disadvantage arising from something that is applied uniformly to all employees yet unintentionally disadvantages one or more of them, may bring a claim of indirect discrimination.
  • Employers (and the equivalent for other work categories) covered by Part 5 of the 2010 Act may be liable for conduct equivalent to direct discrimination if a discriminatory statement is made regarding recruitment, even when there is not an active recruitment process underway. For example, employers not choosing candidates to short-list for interviews on the basis of their names because they believe that name is associated with a particular race or religion.

Equal pay

The scope for claims has been broadened by removing the requirement for workers to identify a comparator within their workplace. Instead, workers only need to demonstrate that their terms and conditions are attributable to a single source, i.e. within the same industry, for example within the hospitality sector.


The definition of disability must be understood as specifically covering a person’s ability to participate in working life on an equal basis with other workers.

How should employers prepare for these changes?

As with any change in employment law, it is vital that employers update their policies and procedures to reflect current legislation and to avoid having a discrimination claim made against them. This is particularly important with the Equality Act, as the latest updates provide greater protection for pregnant and breastfeeding employees and those with a disability, as well as providing more scope for workers to make an equal pay claim.

Get in touch with our employment law specialists

With these changes due to come into effect soon, if you’re an employer and have queries about how these changes may affect your business, get in touch.

Our specialist employment solicitors can advise you on updating your contracts and policies, as well as offer support on a wide range of employment law matters.

Call us today on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.


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