When the draft Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations (the Regulations) were published in December 2016, the government promised further guidance to help employers comply with their obligations. That guidance was published early last week. It is in draft form until the draft Regulations are approved.

The guidance explains in relatively simple terms what the Regulations require, often with accompanying examples. Some of the points covered by the guidance include:

• Post-salary sacrifice pay should be used to calculate the gender pay gap figures, even where participation in the scheme is on a voluntary basis;

• Pay is calculated before deductions made at source, such as pension contributions;

• Someone who is paid less during the relevant pay period for reasons other than being on leave (for example because they are on strike) should still be treated as a full pay relevant employee; and

• How to calculate weekly working hours for employees who do not have normal working hours for various reasons, including how to deal with on-call and sleeping in arrangements.

Further details of the government website to which relevant information has to be published will be available before the Regulations come into force.

There is little further information on share based bonus schemes, other than to confirm that bonuses will need to be included in the bonus gender pay gap calculations in the year in which the employee incurs a tax charge. Particular issues are likely to arise in relation to how to pro-rate share based bonuses that are paid during the pay reference period but which have vested over a period of time; the guidance does not address these.

Much of the guidance outlines what ACAS and the government regard as "best practice" in relation to pay gap reporting, even where this is not actually required by the Regulations. For example, employers are encouraged to include contextual narrative reporting alongside their raw gender pay gap figures, to assess the reasons for their gender pay gap and to develop action plans to close it.