2017: the year of gender pay audits

gender pay gap

 

2017 will bring the first obligation on UK employers to publish data regarding the gender pay gap. The obligation extends to private sector employers with 250 or more “employees” as at the snapshot date of 5 April. It is expected that gender pay reporting will also be extended to the public sector.

Who needs to publish?

The Equality Act’s extended definition of employee is used. Organisations with casual workers or contractors providing a personal service will have to “count” them in determining whether they have 250 employees as at the snapshot date.

There is an exception to the need to provide data for employees where the employer does not have the data and it would not be reasonably practicable to obtain it. Data will still need to be provided for other employees.

What needs to be published?

There are four streams of data required:

  • The mean and median hourly pay gap between male and female employees
  • The numbers of men and women in each of four pay quartiles
  • The difference in mean and median bonus pay received during the 12 months preceding the snapshot date
  • The proportion of male and female employees who received bonus pay during the same 12-month period

Data need only be provided for employees receiving “full pay”. This means that those receiving less than full pay because they are on sick leave or, significantly, maternity leave should not be included (though they are included in counting whether there are 250 employees). This should prevent skewing of figures where there are a significant proportion of women on maternity leave.

Employers have the option of including a narrative with the data. This might be used to explain any differences in the gender pay gap and/or what the employer is doing to seek to reduce the gender pay gap.

Where should it be published?

The data needs to be published on the employer’s website for at least three years in a manner that is accessible to all employees and the public.

It must also be published on a central website which will be set up by the government for that purpose, accompanied by the name and job title of the person who signed the statement of accuracy required.

When should it be published?

Data needs to be published within 12 months of the first snapshot date (i.e. by 4 April 2018) and annually thereafter.

What do employers need to do to get ready for gender pay reporting?

  • Calculate whether you have 250 or more employees, using the wider definition. You may need to take advice in respect of contractors. If you are at or close to this figure, you will need to repeat the exercise on the snapshot date of 5 April.
  • Ensure that your pay records allow you to calculate the data required. You might need to look at technological solutions to allow you to produce the data quickly and easily.
  • Decide who will sign the statement of accuracy.
  • Update your website to create a page for publication that is easily accessible for employees and members of the public.
  • Consider whether you want to include a narrative with the data.

*Louise Taft is is an experienced specialist Employment Solicitor at Freemans Solicitors dealing with matters arising from the world of work, but with a particular interest in cases involving Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination and rights afforded to parents and carers.



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