Gender Pay Gap – what is it and where is it going?

The Gender Pay Gap – what is it?

The Gender Pay Gap came into force on 5th April 2017 and is concerned with the difference between the average hourly wage of men and women in the workplace.

As an employer, it will highlight the difference in the average hourly wage you pay all men and all women across your entire workforce. It will be affected by the way your workforce is split by gender and by job. For example, if your industry typically attracts women for lower paid jobs and men for higher paid jobs, then your Gender Pay Gap will be greater.

The Gender Pay Gap affects employers who have 250 or more employees. And if this is you, you will be required to report your pay data on or before 4th April 2019.

If this legislative change affects you and your business, you’ll be required to establish and publish figures that disclose men and women’s average pay across your organisation online on as well as on your public-facing website.

Why is Gender Pay Gap data necessary?

Gathering Gender Pay Gap data in this way was deemed to be necessary to establish the extent of the difference between the amount men are paid and the amount women are paid for doing the same jobs.

There has been much discussion over the years about the inequality of pay between the sexes and it was recently reported by the BBC that 78% of companies pay men more than women*. This BBC report went on to disclose that, data collected shows that only 8% of companies reported no pay gap at all.

While there are good reasons for these differences in certain organisations, as well as in some industries, there is a growing concern that despite the focus on equal opportunities, men still seem to dominate higher paid positions.

The Gender Pay Gap takes into account salary and bonuses, and in industries like the airlines and finance, the gap is particularly significant. However, what is more alarming is that it has been reported that there is no sector that pays women more than men.

What does the Gender Pay Gap mean for you and your business?

It is essential, if you haven’t done so already, to establish whether or not you are affected by the Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements. If you are an employer in England, Scotland or Wales with 250 or more employees, you were required to report your Gender Pay Gap data before 5th April 2018 and each year thereafter. However, if you a company with fewer than 250 employees, you can volunteer to file your figures.

Mandatory filing is fast and easy, and guidelines are clearly laid out on website, that tell you about:

Mandatory Gender Pay Gap reporting
When you should publish and report
What a ‘relevant employer’ is
Who counts as an ‘employee’
Which data you are obliged to publish and report

…as well as providing support so you can manage and improve your organisation’s Gender Pay Gap.

The important dates you should bear in mind are 30th March for public sector organisations and 4th April for businesses and charities. These are the deadlines to report your data so they can meet the ‘snapshot’ dates of 31st March and 5th April each year.

The Gender Pay Gap today

The BBC report we referred to above states that there is no sector that pays women more than men. This is alarming on first read, but moves are afoot from the likes of the Government Equalities Office and the Behavioural Insights Team to encourage employers to narrow the gap.

They report actions such as using skills-based assessments and standardised tasks during recruitment; using structured, rather than unstructured interviews; increasing awareness of salary ranges throughout the workforce; introducing transparency in pay and reward processes as well as appointing diversity managers or diversity task forces to help reduce the gap.

Where is it going?

It is likely that in the short to medium term, smaller organisations, that’s to say, businesses with less than 250 employees are likely to find themselves caught in the Gender Pay Gap net. Some sources are suggesting that organisations with employee numbers as low as 50 will be affected soon.

Other things which are likely to be taken into consideration as Gender Pay Gap data gathering and reporting evolves, is the treatment of partner pay; ethnicity and disability; the impact of part-time working; increased granularity and more clarity on who is affected, who is heeding the rules and who is breaking them.

Like any new legislation, the Gender Pay Gap is being closely scrutinised by experts and advisors and is likely to cast its net significantly wider in years to come. What this means is that as an employer, it is essential to know your obligations and to have access to the support you need.

What to do if you need help

There is no doubt that the Gender Pay Gap is another administrative burden for business owners and management. However, it is an obligation that is likely to affect more businesses in the fullness of time, rather than less.

The is a reliable and accessible source of accurate and up to date information. Beyond that, it is important that your trusted business advisors are conversant with your obligations.

We have also seen a growing number of software products and tools to make data gathering and reporting easier. And it is reasonable to assume that this sort of solution is likely to grow as the catchment grows and as obligations evolve.

And finally, there is little doubt that having a known and trusted advisor on-side makes the burden of the Gender Pay Gap a whole lot easier to bear. At Payplus we have teams of dedicated advisors ready and waiting to help you make sure you don’t fall foul of your obligations, either by accident or because you’re unaware of what you need to do.

If Gender Pay Gap is on your agenda, don’t wait any longer – get in touch today to get our experts on your side.


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