Under new steps to try and eradicate sexual discrimination and the gender pay gap in the work place all companies with more than 250 employees must now publish their gender pay gaps figures. All private companies exceeding this size will have to disclose full information about their employee pay as it was at the beginning of April 2017.
The information required will include the average man’s wage versus the average woman’s wage, the number of female and male staff, the median wage of each gender and any gender pay gap in bonuses. Companies will have until April 2018 to publish the figures. Failure to do so will lead to an investigation by the Equalities and human rights commission. The data will then be available on the government database. It is believed that the new reporting rules will cover half of the UK workforce.
Currently it is thought that the gender pay gap for full time workers in the UK is 9.4%, ranking the UK as having the 20th lowest pay gap according to the world Economic Forum’s Gender Pay Gap Index. However the early figures coming from companies who have already reported are indicating pay gaps as large as 33%. Under the new rules companies reporting large discrepancies will be encouraged to lay out an action plan to try an eradicate such high levels of gender pay gap.
These new reporting rules have been met with both positive and negative opinions, some believing the reporting will lead to greater transparency in wages while others have criticised the move as being too one dimensional in that it suggests gender pay gaps are purely the result of a company acting in a discriminatory manner rather than allowing for a woman’s lifestyle choices which may disrupt their career progression.
At the moment small business will remain unaffected, however other countries in Europe are now asking companies with as few as 25 employees to report these figures in an attempt to try and address the gender pay gap so it could well become common practice for all businesses in the not to distant future.