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EqualPayPortalBlogSpot is run by equal pay expert Sheila Wild

23 December 2016

Lone mums and older women pay the price of gender inequality

Two recent reports from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) show that across Europe women in general are at a higher risk of poverty. Over the course of their lives they receive a lower income than men, are more likely to work in low paid and insecure jobs or take career breaks due to caring responsibilities at home. As a result, they are exposed to a higher risk of poverty or social exclusion, especially when they are the sole earners.
While a higher proportion of both men and women are living on the edge of poverty and social exclusion today compared to 2010, factors like gender, age, ethnicity, migrant background, disability or type of household can affect a person’s vulnerability to poverty and social exclusion.
A heavy dependence on a father’s income increases the risk of poverty and insecurity, especially when events such as job loss, family break-up, serious illness or even death, occur. The study shows that if a father were to lose his job, 70 per cent of couples with children would fall into poverty.
EIGE’s Director, Virginija Langbakk, says protecting women against poverty helps to protect the whole family.
We need to ensure better career options for women, fair wages and better social systems, such as pension schemes that consider the different needs and challenges women and men face.”
While employment is crucial in safeguarding people against poverty, women with children have a relatively low employment rate. Only half (55 per cent) of women with three or more children have a job. With the arrival of each additional child, a woman’s economic independence shrinks. The need to care for children, parents or sick and disabled relatives keeps many women out of paid work and this has life-long consequences for their career, financial situation and ultimately on pensions.
Lone mothers — being women and being sole earners — face a double challenge. Almost half of all lone parents are poor and women are particularly affected as they make up 85 per cent of all one-parent families in the EU. Due to difficulties reconciling work and family life, they face added constraints on their ability to find a good job. Women are more likely to take up lower paid and less secure forms of work, such as involuntary part-time jobs and jobs with temporary contracts.

And while amongst young people, women and men face a very similar risk of poverty, older women (+75 years) are at much higher risk than older men. Women are clearly paying the price of gender inequalities at an older age.

You can read EIGE’s report here.

You can read EIGE’s factsheet on poverty, gender, and lone parents here.

19 December 2016

Employer views on Gender Pay gap Reporting

In the summer of 2016 the Pay Equality Research Consortium looked into employer views on the forthcoming regulations. A report on the preliminary findings looks at how informed employers feel, their measures of preparation, and how effective they feel regulations will be in overcoming pay gaps.

Interviews revealed that employers have mixed views about the possible effectiveness of GPG reporting: yes, no, and uncertain. The majority of interviews reflected the challenge of the task ahead and the comparatively limited impact that such legislation is likely to have. There was the feeling that this probably wouldn’t work for smaller organisations; that the complexity of the measurements and the process was such that the effects of this weren’t really understood. One respondent pointed to their non-compulsory nature as a reason to suggest they wouldn’t have much impact.

Employers recognised that there is scope for many different explanations for pay gaps and the impact of reporting gaps will be lost in narrative. There was also the sense that public reporting wouldn’t change behaviours of employees.

There was a more positive perspective from larger organisations where this was seen as a ‘wake-up call’. Employers acknowledged reporting could be potentially quite powerful in sectors where comparisons can be made and employees are more likely to move between employers. It was also seen as a valuable process in terms of starting the debate. As one respondent put it: “If it gets measured it gets done”. But the need for implementation and follow through was seen as key. It was also seen as a means to start to shift cultures. In essence it was seen as being a stimulus for change (the media could play a role here too) where organisations wouldn’t want to be named and shamed.

A number of concerns were raised:
  • That employers would not be given the time to understand or prepare
  • That reporting pay gaps would be little more than more that rhetoric or ‘advertising’
  • That measures would be too complex
  • That impact would be hard to gauge, with little to no evidence of this type of regulation having worked elsewhere
  • How gaps would be explained and qualified (potentially neutralising the intended impact)
  • How the figures were going to be compiled and whether it would be a fair and true reflection of the position. This included questions around what was included and what was not, and whether fair comparisons were possible.

9 December 2016

New Regulations, new online tool

Although the Regulations were actually available on line on Tuesday of this week, the
Government has today announced that it has laid the draft Gender Pay Gap regulations before Parliament. The Government has also published its response to the Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting Consultation on Draft Regulations for the private and voluntary sector.

The Government has carefully considered the responses to the second consultation and associated stakeholder engagement and considers that the draft regulations strike the right balance between being practical for employers to carry out, while ensuring the necessary level of transparency to accelerate change and encourage all employers to champion gender equality in their workforce.

In addition, the Government have also launched today a new online tool that allows the public to find out the gender pay gap for their occupation, as defined in the standard industrial classifications used by the Office for National Statistics. The online tool uses the latest data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings to provide the most up to date gender pay gap data.  The launch of the online toll is in line with the Government’s intention that gender pay gap reporting should provide comparability with national statistics. 

For more on the Regulations, go to EqualPayPortal’s page on Gender Pay GapReporting

5 December 2016

The gender pay gap in the GLA

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has hit out at the 'unacceptable' pay gap between men and women as he published full gender pay details of all organisations in the Greater London Authority (the GLA).
Earlier this year, the Mayor honoured a manifesto pledge by publishing gender pay data for all staff at City Hall and today he reiterated his call to all employers to close the pay gap for women after widening publication of gender pay gap data to include the Greater London Authority's 'functional bodies'.
The pay gap for full-time workers across the UK is 9.4 per cent and in London it is 11.9 per cent, according to the 2015 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ONS).
The figures are calculated according to the median, the value suggested by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
As salaries at the Greater London Authority are determined through a job evaluation scheme which evaluates the job and not the post holder, the GLA pays the same salary to roles of equal value. The GLA believes therefore that the differences in the figures do not show a difference in pay for roles of equal value, but illustrate the need for more female representation at the most senior levels of the organisation.
Khan is asking all Greater London Authority group organisations to publish action plans to address the pay gap and says he will be working with all functional bodies to do everything they can to promote gender equality.
Khan’s plans to boost female representation at the most senior levels at City Hall include increasing the availability of part-time and flexible-working options and aiding career progression within those roles. City Hall also offers mentoring, career-support programmes and sponsorship for qualifications. It is training managers to ensure the recruitment process is as fair as possible and piloting ‘no name’ application forms.
Khan has published detailed pay data for all GLA group organisations, including pay gap data for part-time and full-time staff and pay gaps at every level of the organisation. He believes that this transparency is critical and allows the GLA to understand why the pay gap exists and how to take action to eliminate it.

To read the full report, click here.