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30 January 2017

Acas/GEO guidance published

Acas and the Government Equalities Office have launched guidance to help larger businesses abide by new gender pay gap regulations, which come into force in April. The guidance applies only to the private and voluntary sectors. It is not clear whether there will also be guidance for the public sector – which already has existing obligations on equality reporting – nor is it clear whether the guide amounts to ‘statutory guidance’. Having asked for clarification and received no reply, my own view is that there will be no additional statutory guidance, a view formed mainly on the basis that the regulations are in themselves unusually detailed.

As regular readers will know, the new law requires large companies to take a salary snapshot of male and female employees and report on gender pay gaps within their organisations. The regulations apply to an estimated 8,000 businesses and voluntary and charitable organisations in Great Britain with more than 250 employees and will allow both employers and employees to see differences in average salaries for men and women in their workplaces. It will affect more than 11 million employees across the UK.

Acas Chief Executive Anne Sharp says that the guidance provides businesses with practical advice on how to carry out the calculations and on family friendly working to reduce the gap.

The guidance shows employers how to calculate the gender pay gap, including:
  • how to correctly count the number of employees for the gender pay gap calculations
  • how and where a business must publish the data from the gender pay gap
  • the penalties if businesses don't comply
The deliberate mistake here is that of course there are no penalties. The initiative is designed to be self-regulatory, and relies upon public access to the data to ensure that employers are held to account. That’s not to say it won’t work.  The public thirst for information on pay is likely to prove a strong driver for change, and employers may find themselves under scrutiny, not only from their employees, but also from their customers and service-users.
For more detail go to Gender Pay Gap Reporting

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