In February 2016, the government expanded on its plans to require organisations with more than 250 employees to publish gender pay gap data.
In addition to publishing average gender pay gap and bonus pay gap data, under the draft regulations, firms will also have to publish the number of male and female staff in each pay range. This information must be reported each year and signed off by senior management. Employers will also be required to share gender pay gap data on their websites.
The government will publish league tables of the gender pay gap by sector in order to facilitate comparisons between sectors and to ensure employers take action to address the gender pay gap. The government will also publish a report to recognise those employers that are trailblazing in this area.
Employers may be required to calculate their pay gap from April 2017, and the government is expected to publish league tables from 2018.
To help employers with the gender pay gap reporting regulations, the government has proposed a £500,000 support package, such as free online software, conference events across the UK, and targeted support for traditionally male-dominated sectors.
Jo Broadbent, counsel at law firm Hogan Lovells, said: “At the moment, this is just a draft regulation so there are still quite a number of uncertainties that need to be ironed out. Employers can, and should, start thinking about what they are going to do to comply, but they probably can’t take detailed steps until [the regulations] are clearer.”
This could include: liaising with payroll departments or external payroll providers about what data is already collected and how easy it would be to use existing systems to generate the data required under the proposed requirements; considering resourcing issues; and looking at whether mechanisms are in place to support gross hourly pay rate calculations. “It’s really about having a high level overview of what [employers are] going to need to do and where the challenges are going to come up,” said Broadbent.
Employers could conduct a trial run to gain a better overview of these potential issues, as well as a clearer idea of what their gender gap looks like, which would then enable them to take proactive steps. “Employers should think about these things even if they don’t go through a trial run: what do they think their gender pay gap is going to look like, what are the causes of that, and what can they do to try to correct it?” added Broadbent.