Having broken most of our New Years’ resolutions by now, one target that we must keep is to begin preparation of our Gender Pay Gap reports earlier than we did last year.

In 2018, almost 16% (1,577) of eligible employers (those with over 250 employees) missed the deadline to submit their Gender Pay Gap reports and faced intense media criticism and reputational harm.

This year’s deadline (4 April 2019) is rapidly approaching; so, how can you ensure compliance is as pain-free as possible?

1. Understand the issues

A series of six calculations are required, which include: the percentage difference between the median and mean gender pay gap based on hourly rates of pay, the business’s pay distribution over four quartiles, and the number of males and females in each one of these (shown as a percentage). Employers must also publish the difference between their mean and median bonus payments to male and female employees and the proportion of males and females who receive a bonus.

Why is this important?

If a woman feels that there are real opportunities to progress with the company, then she is more likely to want to stay. If she does and achieves promotion then future reports will reflect this improvement as she moves up the career ladder.

This is not an issue that is going away any time soon. If anything, the recent consultation on Ethnicity Pay Reporting demonstrates the government’s commitment to addressing pay disparities in employment. Setting up a strong strategy now can make it a lot easier if, and when, more obligations come into force.

2. Discuss gender pay issues at board level

Rather than simply making sure your report arrives before the deadline, taking the time to discuss the matter at Board level and address any of the problems raised can help to close the gap in future years. These strategies can then be included in the narrative, which is an excellent way to advertise the inclusivity of your company.

When identifying what you can improve, remember to provide a suitable timeframe. If there are issues with your figures this year, it is unlikely to change immediately (given that the snapshot date for 2020 is 5 April 2019.)

Therefore, set targets for the next 3-5 years rather than making bold promises of what will improve in the next 12 months.