Kavitha’s keynote: Widening the net for gender pay gap reporting

Kavitha's keynote

Should gender pay gap reporting be extended to include organisations with 50-plus employees, rather than just those with 250 or more staff, in time for April 2020’s deadline? This is the recommendation from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, published as part of its Gender pay gap reporting paper on 2 August.

The committee also suggests that employers should have to publish an explanation of any observed gender pay gap, along with an action plan for closing it and their annual progress, as part of the standard reporting requirements.

While gender pay transparency has been broadly welcomed, there are some concerns that extending disclosures to include smaller businesses will be challenging. For example, according to international law firm Ashurst, large employers have so far found the obligations “difficult, complex and unclear,” and therefore smaller ones that try to navigate the rules themselves may inadvertently compromise the accuracy of their disclosure. Whether this will be the case remains to be seen.

In other news, research from the Top Employers Institute found that almost half of the world’s leading organisations offer parental leave over and above the local legal requirements.

The report, HR trends 2018: priorities and practices of the world’s leading employers, also revealed that 46% of respondents allow staff the options of telecommuting and working from home, while 72% have created flexible office arrangements.

When it comes to employers based in Europe, 70% offer part-time working opportunities and 66% provide sabbatical leave. Nearly a quarter (24%) have workplace childcare facilities and 32% provide subsidised childcare; this compares to 17% and 10% of global respondents, respectively.

On an equally positive note, if a survey by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and online recruitment firm Indeed is to be believed, half of employers intend to increase employees’ pay by more than 2% in the next year.

Almost a third (32%) of the of 1,020 organisations polled will provide pay rises of between 2% and 5% in the next year, while 18% will offer pay increases of between 1% and 2%. Around 6% plan to increase their employees’ pay by more than 5%, whereas 12% will boost employee pay in line with consumer price inflation.

No doubt this news will be pleasing for employees, but the BCC’s head of business environment and skills policy, Jane Gratton, has warned that the cost of pay rises must somehow be offset by greater productivity, lower costs or higher prices.

Kavitha Sivasubramaniam
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