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More than 90 per cent of affected companies have yet to comply with the new rules on gender pay reporting and 10 per cent say they will be unable to meet the April deadline, according to new analysis.
Charities and private companies with 250 or more employees must publish their gender pay gap calculations by 4th April. For public sector bodies, the deadline is 30 March. Yet according to the latest Yougov data, just 502 companies out of an estimated 9,000 affected firms have so far published the figures.
The survey of middle market businesses for consultancy firm RSM found that while 77 per cent of businesses said they had already published or were on track to publish their gender pay gap report on time.
Kerri Constable, a senior consultant at RSM’s HR consulting service, said: ‘The current level of compliance with the gender pay gap rules is very low, but this is likely to ramp up considerably as we get closer to the deadline.
“However, these figures reinforce our concerns that there are many companies struggling to complete their gender pay gap calculations, partly as a result of difficulties with manipulating the data from payroll systems.
“Many employers are also using the remaining time to develop the right narrative to try and mitigate any reputational risk – both internal and external.
“We also suspect that many firms are playing a wait and see game so they can see how competitors are presenting their own findings.”
The survey also found that 78 per cent of employers said that the reporting obligations would help reduce the size of the gender pay gap. However, they didn’t think this would happen soon – on average, respondents said it would take 32 years.
While there is no financial penalty for non-compliance, the Equality and Human Rights Commission will be able to issue court orders to those employers who do not report on time and not publishing will be considered unlawful.
The GEO (Government Equalities Office) and the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) suggest employers consider committing to three priority actions for their organisations in the next 12 months. Five example initiatives that companies could consider taking for positive action are:
Over the weekend the press reported on some of the firms who have published their gender pay gaps in advance of the April deadline. They include Ladbrokes, Easyjet and Virgin Money. The reports said organisations where men dominated the higher paid roles saw the largest differences in pay. Employers highlighted include womenswear retailer Phase Eight which has 39 of its 44 male employees at corporate head office while female staff are predominantly on the shop floor, leaving mean hourly pay for women 64.8% lower than for men; PwC, where men are paid 33.1% more; Virgin Money where the gap is 32.5% and the Co-operative Bank where men are paid 30.3% more. The Bank of England reported a 21% gap and the Department of Health a 14.2% differential.