The Bill is expected to be turned into law by October and brings together a number of equality laws to form a single Act.
“The new law has been a long time coming and the sooner we see the harmonisation of the law in a single Act, the better,” said employment lawyer Rachel Dineley at Beechcroft.
Lawyers welcomed the Act and said it helps to clarify a number of discrepancies within the UK’s employment laws, but noted that new rules on equal pay – including publishing pay data by gender – could spark an increase in the number of claims brought to tribunals.
Employment tribunals are expected to hear up to 370,000 new claims within the next three years, costing employers £2.6bn.
The number marks a 46 per cent hike on previous years as the average cost of each tribunal claim will be around £7,000, according to research conducted by law firm Dickinson Dees.
James Wilders, an employment partner at the firm, said employment tribunals have seen an average of 20,000 new cases every year since 1998 as a result of new regulation.
He said: “If the Equality Bill isn’t killed off by the general election, then there will potentially be a big increase in equal pay cases over the next couple of years. We expect the trend to continue.”