A second consultation paper on gender gap reporting has been published today, together with the Government’s reply to the more than 700 responses to the original consultation.
In brief, the Government proposes that:
- The regulations will come into force on 1 October 2016. Employers with 250 or more employees will be affected. A relevant employee is one who works in Great Britain and whose contract is governed by UK legislation (regulation 1).
- The definition of pay will be consistent with the definition of pay used by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Pay includes basic pay, paid leave, maternity pay, sick pay, area allowances, shift premium pay, bonus pay and other pay (including car allowances paid through the payroll, on call and standby allowances, clothing, first aider or fire warden allowances). It does not include overtime pay, expenses, the value of salary sacrifice schemes, benefits in kind, redundancy pay, arrears of pay and tax credits (regulation 2)
- Employers will have about 18 months after commencement to publish the required information for the first time and must then publish annually thereafter (regulation 3).
- Employers will have to publish their overall mean (regulation 4) and median (regulation 5) gender pay gaps.
- Employers will have to publish the difference between the mean bonus payments paid to men and women (regulation 6).
- Employers will have to report on the number of men and women in each quartile of their pay distribution (regulation 7).
- Employers will have to provide a written statement confirming that the information is accurate (regulation 8). Employers must publish the information in English on their searchable UK website that is accessible to employees and the public. Employers will be required to retain this information online for three years. In addition, employers will have to upload the information to a government sponsored website (regulation 9).
The government will review the workings of these regulations within five years of their commencement (regulation 10).
Moves to introduce gender pay gap reporting were first mooted by the then Labour government in 2010, revived by the Coalition in 2014, and a consultation initiated by this government in 2015. The 18 month lead-in period suggests that this promise now looks to be undeliverable, but, if enacted in the form proposed, the regulations will mark a step change in action to tackle the gender pay gap.