Mandatory gender pay gap reporting legislation comes into force on 6 April 2017 and applies to private and voluntary sector organisations with 250 or more employees. Is your business ready?
Similar requirements are also expected to come into force for public sector organisations.
Are you ready?
The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 (the 'Regulations') have been delayed several times but there is now no time to lose!
Getting the right data collated is key as the Regulations require specific and extensive pay information to be disclosed. If you are going to produce your report in-house (as opposed to engaging outside assistance) this is likely to take significant time and resources.
Decisions need to be made now
Getting buy-in from senior management and beginning an internal education programme around gender pay is paramount. The Regulations require a named board director to certify in writing that the information in the gender pay report is accurate.
Gender pay reports must be published on an organisation's website and retained for three years. If not handled carefully this could have a lasting and negative effect on reputation, potentially affecting recruitment and existing staff morale.
Don't let your organisation bury its head in the sand
The following checklist is intended to summarise some of the decisions which organisations should be taking now in relation to their first gender pay report and poses some questions which all employers will need to consider.
- Has the Board of directors been briefed on the requirements of the Regulations? If not, how will you get their buy?
- If your organisation is part of a group of companies have you ascertained which separate legal entities will be within the scope of the Regulations i.e. which group companies actually employee individuals and of these, which have 250 or more employees?
- Has the Company's communications/PR team been made aware of the Regulations?
- If you don't have a dedicated PR team, who will be responsible for managing internal and external communications when the report is published?
- Who will be responsible for drafting the gender pay report? Will this be done totally in-house, for example, by the payroll team, or will all or part of the work be outsourced to a third party consultant?
- Are payroll and HR systems able to provide all the data required by the Regulations or will these have to be gathered manually?
- Will a voluntary narrative explaining the gender pay gap figures be included in the report? If so, who will be responsible for producing this?
- What process will be put in place to verify the data and sign off the report?
- Which director will sign the report to confirm accuracy?
- What date will the gender pay report be published? The latest possible date for the first report is 4 April 2018.
- Where will the gender pay report be placed on the employer's website?
- Will you implement an internal education/communications strategy for existing staff to prepare them for publicity around the publication of the report? If so, who will be responsible for this?
- Who will be responsible for implementing the action plan to address any gender pay gap and how will progress be measured and rewarded? Ideally organisations will already have done audits and have some indication of the likely size of their gender pay gaps and where gender pay inequalities are particularly concentrated so that these can start to be addressed. Including details of measures the employer intends to take to start addressing the pay gap could be usefully included in any narrative to the report.
- If you already have an indicative gender pay gap figure for your organisation, benchmark with others in your sector to see where you sit. The Office for National Statistics has an on-line tool which enables you to search the pay gap figure for different industries.
- Consider whether you need to review/restructure your remuneration packages to improve your gender pay gap figures. For example, do you have bonuses paid in April which might potentially skew figures?
- Consider whether you're in need of a wider review to establish the barriers to gender parity within your organisation? For example, how do you recruit, retain, promote and reward women and could this be done differently?
- If you are keeping production of the report in-house, have those who will be doing the work received adequate training on the requirements of the Regulations?
- Do line managers/HR need to be briefed/trained in order to address any questions or grievances from employees about perceived equal pay issues when your gender pay gap figures are published?
- There are still some areas of uncertainty in the Regulations; has your organisations sought professional advice on any issues which might be relevant to compiling its report? For example, do you fully understand which employees are in-scope and which elements of remuneration must be reported upon?
- Look out for guidance to be published by the government/ACAS shortly.