Gender Pay Gap Reporting
Most large employers will be aware of the Gender Pay Gap Reporting requirements which came into force from 6 April 2017. However, at the time of writing, only ten employers have entered their gender pay gap figures on the government website set up for this purpose.
The gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women, expressed relative to men’s earnings. Employers with 250 or more employees on the “snapshot date” of 5 April must gather and publish prescribed gender pay gap within 12 months.
An employer must publish six calculations showing their:
1. average gender pay gap as a mean average
2. average gender pay gap as a median average
3. average bonus gender pay gap as a mean average
4. average bonus gender pay gap as a median average
5. proportion of males receiving a bonus payment and proportion of females receiving a bonus payment
6. proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from lowest to highest pay.
The results must be published on the employer's website and the government website within 12 months. Where applicable, they must be confirmed by an appropriate person, such as a chief executive. Employers have the option to include a narrative explaining any pay gaps or other disparities, and setting out what action, if any, they plan to take to address them.
There have been concerns that the Gender Pay Gap Regulations lack “teeth” as they do not contain any enforcement mechanism or sanctions for failure to comply. Instead, the government has indicated that levels of compliance will be monitored so that the government can consider alternative enforcement mechanisms if necessary. It is also possible that the Equality and Human Rights Commission will take enforcement action.
Of the ten employers who have entered gender pay reporting information on the government website, eight show male employees earning more than female employees, one shows no gender pay gap and one records that its female employees receive higher pay than males. Clearly there is significant work to be done to reduce the gender pay gap. With increasing transparency, employers need to address their gender pay gaps to attract and retain the best talent. Employers can take a number of steps to do this incuding:
· Improve flexibility in senior, highly paid positions, to enable more women to take up those roles.
· Monitor recruitment and address issues which may deter female employees from applying for certain roles.
· Encourage and review career and talent development so that all staff can progress their careers effectively.
· Implement one transparent pay system for all staff.
· Undertake regular job evaluation to assess the demands of each job.
· Ensure that there are clear lines of communication for employees to voice any suggestions or concerns.