As of 6 April 2017, UK employers with over 250 employees are now under a duty to publish details of the gender pay gap within their organisations.
Under new regulations, employers have 1 year (until 4 April 2018) to collate and publish this data on their own websites, as well as on the UK Government’s website.
Although unequal pay between men and women carrying out the same or comparable roles has been illegal in the UK under the Equal Pay Act since 1970, the UK has so far been unable to overcome historical factors and attitudes which cause disparities between the pay of male and female employees.
At the moment, the gender pay gap in the UK is 18.1% across all full-time and part-time workers (or 9.4% among full-time workers only).
The aim of the new regulations is to raise awareness and openness surrounding the gender pay gap and encourage employers to take measures to reduce it.
The pay data employers will have to publish will be based on a “snapshot” of their employees as of 5 April 2017 (and 5 April every year going forward). This means that even if employers now want to take steps to reduce their gender pay gap before publishing the data, it is too late to do so for the 2018 publication.
If employers wish, they can also produce a narrative explaining what any gap may be caused by, whether there may be anything skewing the data, and what they intend to do to tackle the gap going forward.
At the moment, the regulations will have limited legal effect, as there is no penalty for employers who fail to publish the relevant data – something which has been heavily criticised.
However, the practical effect should be that employers will feel compelled to publish the data and to take measures to reduce their gender pay gaps, for the sake of their reputations and to maintain relations with their workforces.
Written by - Fflur Jones | Darwin Gray
Date - 25/04/2017