Gender pay gap reporting: time is running out

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Scales illustrating equal gender pay

With only two weeks to go before the deadline, two thirds of companies are yet to disclose their gender pay gap. Ruth Thomas, senior consultant at Curo Compensation, asks what’s keeping employers and what impact this might have

As of late March, there are still 6,325 employers yet to publish their Gender Pay Gap under the 2010 Equality act. The assumption is that they have something to hide, but what else is going on?

With the April reporting deadline fast approaching employers generally fall into four groups: those who have publicly reported; those who have prepared their figures but are waiting to disclose them; those who are struggling to collate the data required for the somewhat onerous hourly pay calculations; and those who do not realise they need to comply.

Employers in the 250-499 employees category are most likely to fall in the latter two camps. For them accessing the required historical payroll information is a tough enough challenge even before they have to attempt to process the data correctly.

We have already seen examples of employers publicly reporting inaccurate data, some filing multiple attempts in order to get it right.

Once the statutory reporting is done there is still the task of analysing the average headline figures to understand what factors may be contributing in order to provide an accompanying narrative.

Preparing a narrative that will be palatable for the various stakeholders including current and future employees, shareholders and customers requires skill.

Many are likely to be shocked at the outcomes believing they are progressive employers who had equal pay issues in hand. But the issues causing gender pay inequality are complex.

As a result many have obtained external support and assurance over the process at some expense but are looking more towards self-sufficiency going forward.

It is possible some of those who have not reported are unwilling to commit resource due to the lack of enforcement actions but the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has now issued a consultation saying:

“We aim to promote compliance without the need for formal enforcement action. However, we will take action in accordance with our powers set out in the EA 2006 where employers do not comply, despite our encouragement to do so.”

But tracking down offenders will be hard when even the Government Equalities office, who maintain the reporting website, admit that they do not have a complete list of all those who need to report.

Tacking the wide range of contributing issues – including the concentration of men in senior roles, the negative impact of time out of the labour market for caring responsibilities and simple old-fashioned discrimination – will take time and commitment.

With only six weeks to go until the reporting deadline it is time to get on with reporting, stop hiding and recognise that for most it will be the beginning of a journey towards making positive change.

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About author

Ruth Thomas

Ruth Thomas

Ruth is Industry Principal and key advisor to Curo Compensation. Her corporate experience includes Lloyds TSB Group, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Dow Jones Group, and Credit Suisse.

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