ACAS has published some helpful guidance, in association with the Government Equalities Office, on what private sector, third sector and English public authorities need to do to comply with the new obligations that come into force in April this year. The new guidance is available here.

The guidance reflects the changes made in the final regulations which were published just before Christmas. These clarify some points, but continue to be confusing in other areas.

The key changes from the draft regulations are:

In particular:

  • The introduction of the concept of a “full-pay relevant employee”, primarily to exclude those on sick leave or maternity leave from the hourly pay comparison.
  • The exclusion of partners or LLP members.
  • A change in the “snapshot date” to 5 April. Public sector organisations in England need to work to a snapshot date of 31 March each year.
  • A clearer definition of bonus pay and a requirement to publish the difference in both the mean and median bonus figures for men and women.
  • Clarification of how the quartile pay bands are to be calculated.

The first gender pay gap reports (in respect of April 2017 pay data) will be due by 4 April 2018 and must be published for three years on the employer’s website and a central government website.

In addition, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has indicated that it accepts the government’s view that a company’s failure to comply with the requirement to publish gender pay gap figures will be an “unlawful act” under the Equality Act 2006.

Under section 20 of the Equality Act 2006, the EHRC can carry out investigations into unlawful acts and can issue unlawful act notices.

An EHRC spokesperson said: “As with any aspect of equality law, to ensure companies comply with the law, we may decide to improve awareness and understanding of this new requirement, or, if we receive evidence that a company has failed to publish its pay gap information, we may undertake pre-enforcement action, by working with them to improve their practice.”

We think that the narrative that employers put around their gender pay gap information is going to be key. We have developed a checklist of the types of things you might want to be saying as part of our Reporting on the Gender Pay Gap tool kit. Please contact us for more information. You can also check out the webinar that Emma Burns delivered on the CIPD Reward website here.