At last – something that’s NOT about Brexit: the Gender Pay Gap Regulations
It’s time to stop ignoring what private sector organisations with 250 or more staff must do after the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 come into force on 6th April 2017.
Although the fact of a gender pay gap may not be rocket science, what’s interesting is that the gender pay gap isn’t a one-way gap. Apparently it falls to about 9% for full time employees; it reverses to minus 6% for part time workers (where women tend to earn about 6% more than men); and it falls to quite a small % when men and women in their 20s and 30s are compared. But remember that a gender pay gap isn’t an equal pay gap (which is unlawful if men and women are doing the same job). Instead it’s an analysis of different rates of pay between men and women.
Three pieces of data have to be collected. These are (1) the employer’s gender pay gap % as at 5th April in a particular year; (2) the organisation’s gender pay bonus gap over the last 12 months; and (3) the proportion of male and female staff who received a bonus in the same 12 month period. This data then has to be available on the employer website for 3 years and on a government website. Explanations for the reasons for any gap or of work being done to close the gap are encouraged.
Pay includes the gross monthly (if paid per month) or weekly (if paid per week) amount of basic pay, bonuses, allowances, holiday pay and shift premiums, but excludes overtime, expenses, benefits in kind, the value of salary sacrifices and payments made on termination of employment.
There are no sanctions (not yet) for not complying with the reporting obligations. But there will probably be some effect on employers who routinely tender for public sector work and need to comply with procurement requirements that may favour tenderers with a smaller gender pay gap. There may also be forum shopping by employees who choose to work for “employers of choice” that make a virtue of equal pay and of diminishing any gender pay gap: the name and shame game.
Some people think that, for the time being, the benefits of these regulations will be felt more by statisticians and accountants than the individuals who are at the lower end of any gender pay gap.