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“Box-Ticking” Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations Do Not Go Far Enough

“Box-Ticking” Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations Do Not Go Far Enough

British employers will be required to publish gender pay gap details under Government plans announced today.

Companies with more than 250 employees will be forced to reveal differences in pay between male and female employees and publish the details on their website, according to draft regulations revealed by the Government Equalities Office. 

Leading employment solicitor Kiran Daurka expressed concern that the new regulations do not go far enough and will be “ineffective in tackling gender pay disparity”. 

Ms Daurka highlighted the fact that over 99 per cent of all UK employers are classed as small businesses (i.e. have less than 50 employees) and, therefore, won’t be obliged to report anything. 

Under the new regulations, both private companies and voluntary organisations with more than 250 staff will be required to report 'mean' and 'median' gaps in salaries and bonuses paid, and also declare the number of male and female employees who work across the organisation's various pay bands. The first data collection is expected to start in April 2017, with the first gender pay gap reports due 12 months later. 

The Government intends to use the data to produce league tables showing gender pay gaps across various industry sectors, but has not confirmed whether individual companies will be named and shamed. 

A lack of any sanctions for non-compliance concerns Ms Daurka, who believes the new regulations may have little or no impact on bridging the pay gap in sectors where there is discrepancy. Employers won’t face any penalties for not reporting gender pay gaps and won’t be required to provide any narrative about the pay gap, in which parts of the employer it is most prevalent or explain what they intend to do to about it.

“In other words”, said Ms Daurka, “an employer who chooses not to comply with their duty to report will not be punished. And even where information is published, it may make little sense to employees as there is no requirement to explain the figures”

“This appears to be a box-ticking exercise, without any repercussions and fails to address the crux of the issue namely, narrowing the pay gap.” 

The draft Regulations are open for consultation until 11 March 2016.