The government has launched a consultation to public sector organisations on gender pay gap reporting in the public sector.
The consultation, which began on 18 August 2016 and will close on 30 September 2016, sets out how the government intends to bring in the reporting requirements for public sector organisations; how the reporting requirements will work in the public sector; and poses a number of questions on the proposed approach.
The government is seeking to amend the Specific Duties Regulations that are followed by public bodies to include mandatory gender pay gap reporting for public bodies with more than 250 employees.
The existing Specific Duties Regulations, a section of the 2010 Equality Act which came into force in 2011, already requires public bodies with 150 or more employees to publish information relating to staff.
These organisations are encouraged to include gender pay gap data in the information they publish. The government intends to keep this reporting requirement in place so that those bodies with 150 employees or more will still have to report on their workforce diversity and consider whether to include data on gender pay differentials in the information they publish.
The suggested changes to the Specific Duties Regulations for public bodies in England with more than 250 employees will follow the same guidelines that apply to private and voluntary organisations. This will mean they will be required to publish data on their mean and median gender pay gap, mean and median bonus gap and information about the proportions of male and female employees in each salary quartile.
The government intends for the amended public sector regulations to be introduced by the end of 2016 so that public bodies can use the timeline already in place for gender pay gap reporting, which expects the first round of data to be captured in April 2017 and published before April 2018.
Justine Greening MP, secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities, said: “The government believes it is only right that public sector employers should lead the way in promoting gender equality in the workforce.
“Although the pay gap across the public sector as a whole is 18.5% compared to 25.3% in the private sector, this is clearly still too high and we need further concerted efforts to identify and tackle the causes of any gender pay differences.
“The new regulations will mean better transparency for 3.8 million employees who work in public sector organisations in England with 250 employees or more.”