What do employers need to know about the new gender pay reporting rules?

10 Apr 2017

Roughly speaking, women in the workforce are paid 17% less than men. You might find this surprising as gender pay equality has been on the statutes since before your humble correspondent was born, and gentle readers, this was a long, long time ago. The Equal Pay Act 1970 made its way onto the statute books in, well, 1970. I was born in 1971. And still, there is a gap of 17%.

So in (yet another) attempt to remedy this situation, the government has brought these reporting regulations into force. There is no sanction for having unequal pay under the new reporting regulations. It is a “name and shame” exercise – to use a convenient (if rather loaded and perhaps clumsy) short hand expression.

Regulations for the private and voluntary sectors came into force on 5th April 2017.

Whilst there are two sets of regulations, (why have one set of regulations when you can have two sets, for twice the price?), I am only interested in the regulations that apply to private and voluntary sector employers. I am going to leave aside public sector for the moment. Employers will have up to 12 months to publish their gender pay gaps.

Key points of the regulations are:

  • Qualifying employers must satisfy the regulations for any year where there is a "headcount" of 250 or more employees on 5th April. So if an employer has a headcount of 250 on the 4th April but not on the 5th, then no obligation arises 
  • Yet another definition of who qualifies as an employee is used under the regulations and the regulations borrow from the Equality Act 2010. So “workers” are included, and (potentially) some self-employed people. Agency workers are not included as they count as being under the agency headcount.
  • Employers need to carry out six calculations
  • The results must be posted on the employer's website and a government website within 12 months. In certain circumstances, the CEO or other appropriate person must sign off on accuracy
  • Employers can post a narrative with their calculations. This is recommended (by me) where there is a disparity but there is a good reason for it. Also, and here is a tip, the employer can explain what steps are in play to reduce the gap

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