With companies employing over 250 staff members needing to report their gender
pay gap by April 2018, more than 8,000 businesses across the country might
currently be unprepared to meet their statutory duties.
Although, under the Equal Pay Act, it is illegal to pay different amounts to men and women doing the same jobs, ONS figures suggest that female employees in the UK still earn, on average, 20% less than men.
Whilst this is the lowest since records began, it is emblematic of continued inequality in the workplace – one reason why new legislation was put in place to ensure companies are honest about, and publish, their pay gap.
It all comes down to a greater sense of transparency.
By revealing the number of men and women in each pay range, it will be clear to see where pay gaps are at their widest – giving gender inequality nowhere to hide and forcing companies to acknowledge, address, and explain any pay gaps that exist in their organisation.
Nicky Morgan, the former Equalities Minister and Education Secretary, explained: “In recent years, we’ve seen the best employers make ground-breaking strides in tackling gender inequality. But the job won’t be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognised equally and fairly in every workplace.”
It is also hoped that this system of reporting will help to identify broader issues of gender inequality through progression and promotion across the workplace, and provide a measure of female progression.
Aside from transparency, the new legislation will allow businesses to talk confidently about their approach to pay – something which could help change perceptions in traditionally male-orientated industries, such as engineering and finance. As a result, it has the potential to attract more talent to your company.
One of the major benefits is in addressing the unconscious bias that exists in boardrooms across the country. Although most companies don’t choose to discriminate, the gender pay gap has never properly been addressed at the highest levels.
The new legislation will allow HR teams to finally address this complex and long-standing issue.
Enforcing the new changes is not a straightforward process.
First of all, the reports need to be signed off and fully understood by a senior member of staff. Something which takes it far beyond the realms of HR.