Birketts' PENP Calculator, gender pay gap reporting, and the governments consultation on redundancy protection are are all covered in this month's Quick fire.

Birketts' PENP Calculator

Birketts has published a new online calculator, to assist in the calculation of post-employment notice pay (PENP). This calculation is required in respect of all ‘relevant termination awards’ paid to employees since 6 April 2018, to determine whether part (or all) of a termination payment represents notice pay and should, therefore, be subject to deductions for income tax and Class 1 NICs.

The statutory formula for working out PENP is complex, and the Birketts calculator is designed to make the process much easier. We think it is the first of its kind to be published, and we hope you find it useful!

Gender pay gap reporting

The Government has published its response to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee report on gender pay gap reporting, confirming that it will not be making any immediate changes.

The 2018 report called for the gender pay reporting obligations to be further strengthened and extended to companies with 50 or more employees, rather than 250 employees as at present. The Government has confirmed that it will not be extending the gender pay reporting duty at present, but will instead encourage smaller companies to consider their gender pay gaps. It may revisit the issue in the future.

The Government has also decided against the recommendation for mandatory narratives and action plans to accompany gender pay reports, instead preferring employers to have the flexibility to produce an action plan relevant to their individual circumstances. Partner remuneration will remain excluded from the gender pay reporting regime.

Meanwhile, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has published a research report on employers’ understanding of the gender pay gap, their experiences with compliance and actions taken to close the gap. The report is based on a 2018 survey of 900 large employers, with the majority of respondents (82%) believing that they had a good understanding of what the gender pay gap is and how it is calculated (up from 48% in 2017). The number of employers that have developed a gender pay gap strategy has increased from 21% in 2017 to 34%.

The GEO has also published two new guidance notes on gender pay gap reporting: Eight ways to understand your organisation’s gender pay gap and Four steps to developing a gender pay gap plan.

A reminder that this year’s deadline for employers of 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gap data is fast approaching: 4 April 2019 (or 31 March 2019 for public sector employers).

Consultation: redundancy protection

The Government has published a new consultation, seeking views on its proposals to extend the existing redundancy protection for women on maternity leave, to those who are pregnant and after their return to work.

Current protection only applies to those already on maternity leave, who must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy in a redundancy situation in preference to other redundant employees. If the Government’s proposals go ahead, protection would start as soon as the employee notifies the employer of her pregnancy in writing, and would also apply for six months after her return from maternity leave.

The consultation also proposes to extend redundancy protection to those taking adoption leave or shared parental leave.

In addition, the consultation states that the Government has committed to exploring the evidence for changing tribunal time limits for discrimination claims, following recommendations in the Women and Equalities Select Committee 2016 report that the time limit should be increased from three to six months.

The consultation closes on 5 April 2019.