The gender pay gap, a lesson for all?
Much has been written this summer and a considerable amount of outrage shared on social media about the inequalities in pay at the BBC among its staff, especially those in the public spotlight. About half of the UK workforce are affected by new reporting rules and whilst many businesses have already published a snapshot of their employee pay, those with 250 or more employees will have to publish their gender pay gaps by April 2018, including:
- Publishing median gender pay gap figures, comparing the pay of a man and a woman who are both at the mid-point of the company payroll.
- Publishing mean gender gap figures produced by dividing the total payroll by the total number of workers.
- Publishing the proportion of men and women in each quarter of the pay structure.
- Publishing the gender pay gaps for bonuses.
The data will be held on a government database and those businesses that don’t comply by April 2018 will be contacted by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. If a business does discover a gender pay gap, they will be encouraged to publish a plan alongside the figures with detailed information about how they propose to address this issue.
Women tend to learn less than men over their entire careers for many reasons. Differences in caring responsibilities and the fact more women take on low skilled and low paid work.
Campaigners would however like to see more done by the UK Government to tackle wider issues of inequality. Such as:
- Advertising all jobs as being flexible, part-time or a job share unless there is a strong business case not to.
- Supporting women to progress to higher paid jobs and tackling unconscious bias.
- Becoming a living wage employer as over 60% earning less than the living wage are women.
- The implementation of greater penalties for employers who do not comply with the new reporting.
- The creation of targets for apprenticeships, aiming for 50:50 gender recruitment.
- Introduce a dedicated period of leave for fathers paid closer to replacement earnings rate, as too few fathers are using current shared parental leave.
- Invest in free, high quality childcare.
Whilst this wish-list is not enshrined in law, businesses should take note of the move to greater workforce equality and take steps to act now to identify, address and close any gaps within their organisation.