The Equality Act 2010
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) seeks to provide equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported. Although a provider does not need to have an equal opportunities policy, having one allows employees to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities within predefined limits. Paragraph 3.58 of the EYFS states that providers must follow their legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.
The Equality Act came into force from October 2010 providing a single legal framework with clear, streamlined law to more effectively tackle disadvantage and discrimination. It ensures consistency in what an early years and childcare provider needs to do to make their workplace a fair environment and to comply with the law.
Acas advice on equality and discrimination
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has produced guidance about what the Act means for employers and how to review and monitor their existing policies, which would be useful for early years and childcare providers to read.
Acas has also written practical advice to help organisations follow the law on equality and discrimination. The Equality guides focus on:
- Understanding the basics
- Preventing discrimination
- Discrimination: what to do if it happens
On the same page, Acas has also included guidance on the nine protected characteristics included in the Equality Act 2010, which employers need to know about so they do not discriminate against their employees or job applicants.
Equality and Human Rights Commission
The Equality and Human Rights Commission's mandate is to challenge discrimination, and to protect and promote human rights. They have developed Codes of Practice on employment, services and equal pay for employers and workers; the main purpose being to provide detailed explanations of the provisions in the Act and to apply legal concepts in the Act to everyday situations. The Codes set out clearly and precisely what the legislation means. They draw on precedent and case law and explain the implications of every clause in technical terms.