The Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1970 but with an unusually long delay until 1975 before full implementation. The idea was to allow employers to get their houses in order and bring about parity of pay between the sexes. It seems remarkable that 40 years on there is reportedly a gender pay gap of over 20%. 

The latest attempt to address this is mandatory reporting for larger employers with 250 or more staff. The draft regulations were published today. There is now a short period of consultation and they are expected to come into force in 1 October 2016. The key points are:

  • Employers in both the private and public sectors with more than 250 employees will have to disclose how much they are paying their male and female employees.
  • The date by which companies will have to publish their gender pay data has been delayed until April 2018, with the aim of giving employers time to introduce new systems or processes to analyse their gender pay gaps. Employers will have to publish their data annually thereafter.
  • A number of metrics will be reported on, including mean and median gender pay gaps for salaries and bonuses, the number of men and women in each salary quartile and the proportion of male and female employees who received a bonus that year.
  • The government has indicated that it will use the data to produce league tables that rank whole sectors against each other according to their average pay gaps (it is as yet undecided whether league tables of individual companies will also be published).
  • A database of complying employers will be built up as employers publish their information, with examples of compliance and non-compliance identified. The regulations do not provide for any penalties. The real consequence is negative publicity and risk to employment relations resulting from non-compliance.

Please click here to review the draft regulations.