The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published its draft gender pay gap reporting enforcement strategy.
The gender pay gap reporting regulations have been widely criticised for not including any enforcement provisions, meaning that some employers may opt to not fully (or accurately) comply with the requirement to report on their gender pay gap. However, the EHRC has confirmed that it proposes to use its wider powers of enforcement, under the Equality Act 2006, to ensure compliance with the reporting requirement.
The draft strategy suggests that the EHRC will initially adopt an informal approach by engaging with employers. It will investigate suspected breaches of the regulations, and employers who refuse to enter into a formal agreement to comply may be issued with unlawful act notices. Ultimately, employers who fail to comply with the reporting duty could be issued with an unlimited fine. Whether the EHRC has sufficient resources in place to effectively carry out these enforcement measures, however, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has published a new toolkit for employers, in conjunction with the CIPD, to provide guidance on what actions employers can take to close the gender pay gap in their workplace.