The University of Essex has given female professors a one-off salary increase to align their salaries with their male counterparts. Data analysis by the Times Higher Education has shown that full-time female academics are paid 11% less than men. The main reason for this increase has been credited to ‘impatience’ for change after previous initiatives had failed to close the gender pay gap. This comes at an interesting time as companies with over 250 employees are under pressure to level the playing field before mandatory gender pay gap reporting comes into effect in October 2016 with first reports being due by April 2018.

Chris Greep, Paralegal in the Warner Goodman employment team says: “When women carry out the same work as a man in the same role, it is only fair, they are paid the same. Of course things like hours at work are taken into consideration, but if an employee receives a performance-related pay rise for example, it is crucial for the employer to document the reasons behind this, such as money earned for the company or extra qualifications necessary to the job.”

He continues: “When gender pay gap reporting comes into effect in October 2016, it will apply to all private and third sector employers with over 250 employees with an aim of encouraging transparency in the workplace. It is recommended that employees review current wage formulas to identify if/why any gender discrepancies exist, and look into current procedures to identify any potential risks and take action on these areas. A company’s reputation could be damaged if it fails to adhere to gender pay regulations, so it is worth looking at these issues before they could escalate and do serious harm. Developing a communications plan could be an effective way of dealing with questions from employees and the public.”