Although the Gender Pay Gap Regulations were originally expected to come into force in October 2016, the draft Regulations have only just been published. They are now expected to come into force on 6 April 2017, with the first gender pay gap reports within 12 months of that date.
As expected, the Regulations continue to apply to employers with 250 or more employees. Employers will have to report their mean and median bonus gender pay gap, the proportion of male and female employees who receive a bonus and the proportion of male and female employees in quartile pay bands. The report will have to be published on the employer's website (accompanied by a signed statement confirming the information is accurate), and also on a website set up by the government for the purpose, along with the name and job title of the person that signed the statement
The main changes from the consultation version of the Regulations include:
- The "snapshot date" which determines the relevant pay period for employees is 5 April 2017;
- The Regulations apply to the wider Equality Act definition of employees (with certain exceptions for partners and LLP members);
- Employees being paid at a reduced rate on the snapshot date (for example because they are on family leave or sick leave) do not have to be included when calculating the mean and median gender pay gap;
- There are more detailed definitions of what amounts to ordinary pay and bonus pay, which should make it easier for employers to work out what elements of pay and bonus pay have to be taken into account in the calculations; and
- The Regulations set out how an employer should calculate an employee's hourly rate of pay and number of working hours in a week and how to determine the proportions of male and female employees who receive bonus pay and are in each quartile pay band.
The Explanatory Notes to the Regulations state "Failure to comply with an obligation imposed by these Regulations constitutes an 'unlawful act' within the meaning of section 34 of the Equality Act 2006, which empowers the Equality and Human Rights Commission to take enforcement action." There are no specific sanctions contained in the Regulations themselves.