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23 March 2018

MPs to investigate gender pay gap reporting

Amid fears that employers are not going to comply with the gender pay gap reporting regulations, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS), headed by Rachel Reeves MP, is to conduct a short inquiry into aspects of pay in the private sector.

The inquiry's remit will be:

      • To examine the compliance by business with reporting requirements on the gender pay gap and to consider what steps they are taking to address the gap;

      • To consider the implementation of the recommendations on executive pay by the previous Committee in its 2017 report on Corporate Governance and recent developments on executive pay;

      • To examine the effectiveness of Remuneration Committees and institutional investors in combatting excessive executive pay

The inquiry will initially focus on the gender pay gap and the Committee invites written submissions on this topic.
You can find out more here.

New analysis of the gender pay gap published by the TUC

A new analysis of official statistics published by the TUC shows that the gender pay gap is at its widest when a woman hits 50, when the average woman working full-time will earn £8,421 a year less than the average full-time working man.

The research – published in advance of the gender pay reporting deadline on Wednesday 4 April – shows that women working full-time earn less than men annually at every stage of their careers.

Young women: The average young woman aged 18-21 working full-time starts her career on the back foot financially, earning £1,845 less than her male peers. And this pay gap is only set to increase. Women aged 22-29 working full-time can expect to earn £2,305 less than full-time working men their age.

Women in their 40s: The gap in annual earnings more than doubles by the time women hit 40, leaping up from £3,670 a year at age 30 to £7,400 a year. The TUC believes this reflects the impact of motherhood on women’s earnings, when women find they are only able to return to work in lower-paid roles or cannot progress their careers after having moved to part-time employment.

Women in their 50s: The pay gap widens further for women in their 50s, hitting £8,421 a year, as the longer-term impacts of getting stuck in lower paid work with few promotion prospects are felt and caring responsibilities – including for older relatives – continue to have an effect.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Women suffer a huge pay penalty over the course of their lives, starting as soon as they set foot on the career ladder. A good first step for women worried about their pay is to join a union.”

To address the gender pay gap the TUC is calling on the government to:

1. Toughen up gender pay gap reporting: by increasing resources for enforcement, introducing immediate fines for non-compliance and requiring employers to publish action plans alongside their figures. Smaller employers should also be required to report.

2. End the motherhood pay penalty: by tackling pregnancy discrimination, giving dads better opportunities to share parental leave and working with employers to create more well-paid part-time jobs.

3. Improve pay for “women’s work”: through investing in key sectors like social and nursery care where many important jobs are done by women. 

4. End discriminatory pay: through mandatory equal pay audits.

21 March 2018

Does fatherhood hold the key to closing the gender pay gap?

Thoughtful article from Duncan Fisher in Personnel Today, picking up on the findings of the Women and Equalities Committee's report on fathers and the workplace. 

The report's recommendations are framed to balance the needs of fathers, mothers and employers. The key recommendations are: 

  • Fathers who are employees should be entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments as a day-one right. 
  • Statutory paternity pay should be paid at 90 per cent of the father’s pay (capped for higher earners) to ensure that all fathers, regardless of income, can be at home around the time of their child’s birth; 
  • The Government should consider the costs and benefits of introducing a new policy of 12 weeks’ dedicated leave for fathers in the child’s first year to replace shared parental leave when it reviews this policy in 2018; 
  • The Government should seek to legislate immediately to make a reality the Prime Minister’s call for all jobs to be advertised as flexible from day one, unless there are solid business reasons not to; 
  • The Government should act now to harmonise workplace rights for fathers who are agency workers or self-employed with those for employed fathers where practical; 
  • To help drive the cultural change in the workplace that the Government wishes to see, it should consider the benefits of amending the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 to add an additional characteristic of ‘paternity’, looking at what period such a characteristic would cover and to which groups of working fathers it would apply
The report says: "The review of shared parental leave in 2018 is an opportunity that must not be missed to consider how best to remove the barriers to fathers fulfilling their caring obligations to their children and to mothers participating fully in the workplace. Ultimately this will help to reduce pay inequalities."

20 March 2018

Dispatches – the Truth about Your Pay

I think what surprised me most about last night’s Dispatches (Channel 4) was that companies were paying good money for such poor – and totally unnecessary – advice on how to avoid publishing information on their gender pay gap. It is of course shocking that companies would wish to avoid doing so, but does it really need a consultant to point out that reducing the number of people a company employs will take it below the reporting threshold? With bears of such little brain in charge of pay systems, no wonder resolving the gender pay gap is taking so long!