The Equality and Human Rights Commission has at long last decided what it's going to do to enforce the gender pay gap reporting regulations - go after those who haven't reported. Well, yes, but surely that leaves a lot of questions unanswered? Especially as the document setting out the Commission's intentions is titled 'a draft' strategy.
Employers I am working with want to know what amounts to an unlawful breach of the regulations. Failure to report at all is clearly a breach, but what about partial reporting, or inaccurate reporting? And who will decide whether a report is inaccurate and whether it is wilfully or accidentally so? What about the level of sign off? Could sign off by a junior lead to legal action? And what about the information gathering itself, and, in particular, the difficulties organisations are having in assigning the appropriate reporting status to employees, and in defining allowances as pay or bonus payments? Will inaccuracies here lead to problems for employers?
And from an employee's point of view, who does an employee go to if they have grounds for believing that their employer is in breach of the regulations? How do they complain, and are they fully protected if they do so?
Clarity is much needed. The EHRC says it will produce guidance, but for those who are still seeking guidance over and above the official guidance produced for the Government Equalities Office by Acas, the April reporting deadline is fast approaching. What kind of guidance will the EHRC produce and when? Perhaps the final version of the strategy will tell audiences what they need to know, but the EHRC needs to get its skates on.