On 14 July 2015, the Government announced its aspiration to “end the gender pay gap in a generation” by implementing Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010. Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 contains a power for the Government to make regulations requiring employers with at least 250 employees to publish information relating to differences between their male and female employees’ pay.
The Government has launched a consultation, commencing on 14 July and ending on 6 September 2015, over what the regulations will contain such as the level of information a company is required to publish and the frequency. Additionally, the consultation will also look at holistic strategies to encourage female employees to consider the widest range of careers, how best to support parents returning to work and how to support women to reach their full potential in the in the job market.
The objective of the regulations is to increase transparency to encourage employers to consider what steps they can take to decrease any discrepancies in pay. However, such a review of a company’s pay practices is unlikely to be an easy undertaking and may be costly and time consuming especially if the Government decides that the information should be broken down by full-time and part-time employees, or by grade or job type.
It is currently envisaged that the regulations will be made in the first half of 2016, however, the actual implementation of the regulations are likely to be delayed to allow employers time to prepare and carry out a review of their pay structures. Although this may seem like a large undertaking for employers there are a few employers that already publish gender pay gap information on a voluntary basis under the Government’s voluntary reporting initiative, ‘Think, Act, Report’, which was launched in 2011.
For more information on how to address issues relating to gender pay discrepancies, please contact a member of the Employment Team.