Gender Pay Gap Reporting

As we reported last month, publication of the final draft gender pay gap reporting regulations, originally expected to come into force on 1 October 2016, has been delayed. The Government Equalities Office has indicated that these will now be laid before Parliament in the autumn, to commence in April 2017. It is likely that the first gender pay reports will still be due by April 2018, based on data taken from April 2017.

In the meantime, section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 22 August 2016. This is the enabling provision to allow the gender pay reporting regulations to be brought into force.

The Government has also published a new consultation on gender pay gap reporting in the public sector. The proposal is that similar reporting obligations will apply to public sector employers with 250 or more employees, as will apply to the private and voluntary sector employers. It is anticipated that public bodies covered by the regulations will also be expected to capture their first set of gender pay gap data in April 2017 and to publish the required information before April 2018.

Details of the consultation, which closes on 30 September 2016, are available here.

Workplace pregnancy discrimination

The Women and Equalities Select Committee has recently issued a new
report on pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace,
calling for increased protection to apply to pregnant women and new

The report calls on the Government to take urgent action within the next two years to
prevent a further rise in the numbers of pregnant women and mothers being forced
out of the workplace. Key recommendations in the report include:

  • giving new and expectant mothers additional protection from redundancy
  • increasing the time limit for bringing claims for pregnancy and maternity discrimination from three to six months, and reducing the level of tribunal fees for discrimination claims
  • extending maternity-related rights to casual, agency and zero-hours workers, including paid time off for antenatal appointments.

The report also recommends improved health and safety protections, including a requirement for employers to undertake an individual risk assessment for any worker who is pregnant, has given birth in the past six months or is breastfeeding.

A copy of the report is available here. The Government will provide its response in due course, detailing any proposals it intends to take forward.

Tribunal quarterly statistics

The most recent statistics published by the Ministry of Justice for the period April to June 2016 show a further decrease in the number of single claims received by employment tribunals (4,200, down 3% on the same period in 2015). Over the same period, 2,209 remission
applications for the issue fee were made with 64% being either fully or partially successful.

Alongside these quarterly figures, statistics for the financial year 2015 to 2016 have also been published showing a sustained increase in the median compensatory awards for discrimination and unfair dismissal claims. As this interesting analysis suggests, the increase is likely to result from lower value claims being deterred as a direct result of the introduction of fees for bringing an employment tribunal claim. The average (mean) award for a claim of unfair dismissal was £13,851 in 2015/16.

Statistics for 2015/16 also show that 84% of claimants were represented by a lawyer at employment tribunals, up from 75% in 2014/15.

National minimum wage

From 1 October 2016 the new rates of the national minimum wage will take effect. The national living wage, introduced in April 2016 for workers aged 25 and over, will remain at £7.20 per hour. Other rates will increase as follows:

  • Workers aged 21 to 24: from £6.70 to £6.95 per hour
  • Workers aged 18 to 20 (development rate): from £5.30 to £5.55 per hour
  • Workers below 18 (young workers rate): from £3.87 to £4.00 per hour
  • Apprenticeship rate: from £3.30 to £3.40 per hour