The government published the draft Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 (the Regulations), which will introduce gender pay gap reporting in the public sector on 20 January 2017.

The Regulations are intended to come into force on 31 March 2017 and apply to maintained schools and academy trusts.

Background

Public authorities are subject to an existing public sector equality duty (PSED), which requires public authorities to have regard to the need to eliminate conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010, such as discrimination, advance equal opportunities and foster good relations between persons that do, and do not have protected characteristics.

The Regulations introduce changes to the existing PSED, and more importantly, impose a new requirement on public authorities to publish gender pay gap information.

Which organisations are covered?

The duty to report gender pay gap information only applies to schools or academy trusts in England with 250 or more employees.

In a MAT, all employees in the MAT will count (as the MAT board is the proprietor). For the purpose of the regulations it is the governing body of all maintained schools that is deemed to be the employer, rather than the local authority.

What do the Regulations say?

The Regulations largely mirror the draft Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, which apply to private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees. However, the Regulations differ in relation to snapshot date on which pay data is to be collated in each year, being 31 March for public authorities and 5 April for private employers.

Public authorities that are required to report must capture the relevant pay data on 31 March 2017 and publish the information by 30 March 2018, and at yearly intervals going forward.

There are six reports that are required to be published under the Regulations:

  1. Difference in mean pay between genders (expressed as a %)
  2. Difference in median pay between genders (expressed as a %)
  3. Difference in mean bonus payments between genders (expressed as a %)
  4. Difference in median bonus payments between genders (expressed as a %)
  5. Proportion of men and women in the workforce that received a bonus
  6. Number of men and women in each quartile of the pay range

To demonstrate compliance with the PSED, public sector authorities must also undertake the following actions in addition to reporting its gender pay gap information:

  • Publish information about employees who share a relevant protected characteristic no later than 30 March 2018, and going forward annually at intervals of no more than one year from the last publication.Please note that the requirement to report information about employees only applies to public authorities with 150 or more employees. This is a lower threshold than the gender pay requirements.
  • Prepare and publish one or more objectives relating to the three core objectives of the PSED no later than 30 March 2018, and going forward at intervals of no more than four years.