The Gender Pay Gap Information Regulations came into force in April 2017. As a result of the pandemic, the Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines last year. Reporting is going ahead this year, albeit the enforcement of the provisions will be suspended for six months, giving employers until the 5 October 2021 to submit their data.
Any employees on reduced rates of pay are omitted from the pay gap calculations (but still count towards overall headcount). Given that many employees were furloughed on 80% of pay in April last year, or were on reduced pay as a result of sickness/self-isolating, this year’s reporting is likely to be unrepresentative.
What are the reporting obligations?
The Regulations impose six ways of reporting pay:
- Median and mean gender pay gap figures.
- Median and mean gender pay gap figures for bonuses.
- The proportion of men and women who received a bonus.
- The proportion of men and women in each pay quartile.
The information must be published on the employer’s website and a government sponsored website.
What should employers be doing now?
The pay data snapshot is fixed as at 5 April each year but it is not just a case of reporting the figures. Employers should also be looking at providing a contextual narrative to accompany the report otherwise there is a risk that publication of bare statistics, without any explanation, particularly where there are significant disparities, will leave them at risk of the numbers being used to support equal pay claims, as well as contributing negatively to wider diversity and reputational issues.
Therefore it is essential for employers not only to do the calculations but also to consider how best to present the resulting data as well as how to communicate the outcome to their employees.
How we can help
We can provide advice and assistance on any aspect of the reporting obligation including what information you need for the calculations as well as help with your contextual narrative and how to communicate and manage any resulting messages to your employees.
In conjunction with our team of HR consultants, we also offer help from an initial free assessment of your current pay structures to decide whether there are any potential equal pay issues, to the provision of a job evaluation scheme report which will set out recommendations for any changes you need to put in place as well as a defence to any future equal pay claims.
There are many benefits for tackling any pay gap which this reporting obligation reveals head-on and employers should take this opportunity to address any issues. The benefits include a positive reputation in the marketplace, it will assist in recruiting and retaining talent, it results in reduced reputational risk, underpins competitiveness, and will result in increased loyalty and employee engagement.
Taking pro-active steps now will also mean that for each annual report the employer will be able to demonstrate how its actions have narrowed the gender pay gap.
Client Training: how to comply
We offer a two hour training session at our offices or yours on complying with the new Gender Pay Gap reporting obligations.
During the session we will:
- Give practical guidance on the steps needed to comply with your obligations using case study examples
- Discuss ways to present the data including the use of contextual narratives to accompany it
- Provide guidance on communicating with your employees about the process and the outcome.
Please contact Michael Powner or your usual Charles Russell Speechlys contact if you would like further information.