We are now fewer than six months away from the deadline for reporting the first year’s gender pay data. The vast majority of employers have yet to report, but there are lessons to be learnt from those that have.
The gender pay reporting requirements apply to all British employers with at least 250 staff. For most public sector employers the publication deadline is 30 March 2018. Other employers have a few days more (until 4 April) to comply with these requirements. For the detailed requirements see our separate briefing here.
So far just over 100 employers have reported their data and uploaded it to the Government portal here. That represents a very small proportion of the 9000 or so employers which are likely to be subject to these requirements.
Over the summer gender pay reporting received a great deal of media attention thanks to the BBC’s publication of the salaries of its directly engaged “top talent” in its annual report. However it was not until early October that the BBC published its statutory figures, which it combined not only with a full equal pay audit but also a review of the published data by a former Court of Appeal judge.
There is big difference between the BBC’s extremely thorough approach, which goes considerably beyond the requirements of the gender pay regulations, and publishing the raw figures, which is all that the regulations strictly require. The decision about how best to present the figures will be determined by the size and resources of each organisation and the sensitivities of the sector in which it operates.
Many are likely to choose a middle road between the two extremes, with some contextual information being provided on top of the raw data. Additional information typically induces a comparison between what the organisation’s own figures reveal about its gender pay gap and the national or sector average. Some organisations also set out what they believe to be the underlying causes of their gender pay gap, and actions they plan to take to narrow it.
Reasons for the gender pay gap
Very often the main reason for the gender pay gap is the preponderance of male staff in the more highly paid positions For example the BBC estimates that 7.7% of its 9.3% median pay gap is due to this factor.
However there can be a range of other factors in play. Ignoring the possibility of direct sex discrimination, the reasons can include a predominance of male applicants for jobs that require skills in high demand such as computer science and engineering or the lack of flexible working opportunities in more senior roles.
- Actions that employers report they are taking include:
- Taking steps to encourage the female talent pipeline;
- Extending the range and take up of flexible working opportunities;
- Increasing pay transparency, particularly with regard to bonuses;
Extending the reach of recruitment to ensure applications from the widest possible pool of talent
- Information and guidance
- Mills and Reeve’s high level guide is available here;
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission has recently launched its pay gaps hub which includes an explanation of the reasons behind gender and other pay gaps and examples of best practice;
- The Government’s gender pay gap campaign page has links to Government guidance and other sources of information;
- ACAS has also published comprehensive guidance.
How we can help?
As well as sharing our experience of best practice in your sector, we can provide you with legal advice on compliance and the possible legal risks your organisation may face as a result of its pay practices.
For more information please contact David Mills or your usual Mills & Reeve contact.