Implementation of new legislation requiring relevant employers to report on any gender pay gap looks set to be delayed to April 2017.

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 would require employers with 250 employees or more to publish an annual report on any difference between the average pay of men and women across their organisation.

The government has consulted on the Regulations in their draft form and the results of that consultation were expected to be published over Summer 2016, along with the final version of the Regulations, which were then expected to come into force in October 2016.

However, information from the Government Equalities Office suggests that this timetable may have shifted and that the Regulations will come in force in April 2017.

While any delay in implementation may give employers more breathing space before their obligations under the Regulations bite, it will also afford employers more time to make necessary preparations and it is sensible to do so sooner rather than later given the proposed requirements. While the draft Regulations may be subject to some final changes, enough is known to allow employers to put in place a strategy to address any gender pay gap now.

Appropriate steps may include conducting a gender pay audit, analysing the reason for any gap, taking steps to address the gap and considering what information may be needed for the annual report. Conducting an audit now would allow any issues that might emerge to be dealt with before there is any requirement to report them.