Theresa May has called on all companies to publish their gender pay gap and make flexible working a reality from day one unless there are good business reasons not to.
The Prime Minister said companies need to improve the pipeline to ensure progress on female representation at senior levels, including supporting women to progress to middle management and offering return to work schemes and is encouraging smaller companies to publish their gender pay gap.
Legally, only those companies with over 250 employees are required to publish their gender pay gap. They have until April 2018 to do so in the first year since the legislation came into force. Theresa May’s new announcement came as figures were published last week showing the gender pay gap for those in full time work had fallen to 9.1%.
The Women’s Business Council will advise the Prime Minister on progress and good practice in business. The council will also be providing recommendations in key areas including middle management, flexible working, working parents and return-to-work schemes.
The Prime Minister said: “Tackling injustices like the gender pay gap is part of building a country that works for everyone.
“Already many of the UK’s top companies are leading the way in making sure everyone’s contributions to the workplace are valued equally, and it is encouraging news that the gap has fallen this year for full-time workers.
“But the gender pay gap isn’t going to close on its own – we all need to be taking sustained action to make sure we address this.”
The TUC said encouraging smaller companies to report their gender pay gap was not sufficient to tackle the pay issue and called for tougher legislation to enforce publication and action on the gap, including fines for those who do not comply.