Are you getting paid enough? Reporting rules will force employers to be transparent

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Joan Pettingill is a director in the Lupton Fawcett Denison Till employment department.

EMPLOYERS with over 250 employees will soon be expected to comply with new gender reporting requirements from October 2016.

But what is gender pay-gap reporting, why have it, and what are employers supposed to do about it? 

The first reports are due to be published by no later than 30 April 2018 and are more wide-reaching than originally anticipated.

It’s actually quite difficult for the average employee to know what they are paid in relation to colleagues of a different gender in their own place of work and who are in similar types of jobs. The new rules should make this more transparent and force employers with poor gender pay differentials to take action to remedy them.

The draft Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 published on 12 February set out what the Government is likely to want employers to report on. Whilst still subject to consultation, no great changes to the draft rules are anticipated. It is proposed that employers will:

– have to publish information on their websites annually
– leave information on their websites for 3 years
– upload information to a Government website
– be named and shamed if they don’t comply
– face civil or possibly criminal sanctions for non-compliance

Employers will have to publish both mean and median pay information based on their whole workforce. This means a lot of information gathering. They’ll need to state how many men and how many women are in each quartile of pay in the workforce. This will highlight the gender spread from top to bottom and supposedly help to smash through the glass ceiling and open up opportunities for women at a senior level.

The aim is to close inequality of pay between men and women more speedily than ever before and expose those organisations doing nothing to tackle pay inequalities. LFDT lgo

The current gender pay gap in the UK is reportedly just under 20%. The new rules are supposed to force employers to take pro-active steps to address anomalies. The idea is that consumers will vote with their feet if they see organisations failing to comply and take their business elsewhere.

Since 2010 organisations have been able to comply with reporting requirements voluntarily but only one in five have chosen to. It’s thought the new rules will affect 8,000 organisations. As the reports do not need to be published for another 2 years, employers have time to address pay disparities and save embarrassment. Now is the time to investigate and take action.

Those employed with under 250 employees may also be indirectly affected if they tender for public sector work, as public sector bodies start to require their suppliers to show the steps they are taking to address such gender pay gap issues in their own organisations.