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Newsflash – Gender pay reporting update

The 4 April 2018 deadline for employers to publish their gender pay gap (GPG) reports to the Government’s dedicated website is fast approaching but, to date, only a minority of employers have done so.

According to Government figures there are approximately 7,000 UK employers in scope to publish GPG data (i.e. those with 250 or more staff) but, at the time of writing, only 757 reports have been uploaded to the website. If you are amongst those who have not yet published your organisation’s report, you are not alone.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) has been contacting ‘in scope’ employers since Autumn last year, reminding them of the deadline and advising them to register with the Government’s online portal before 31 January 2018 in order to stay on track to meet the reporting deadline. Their letter provides employers with a unique registration security code.

We have been in contact with the GEO who have advised as follows:

“While we are encouraging employers to complete the registration process as soon as possible, organisations can continue to register with the gender pay gap service after this date by requesting a pin in the post from the Government Equalities Office, which will be sent to their registered address.  To avoid any last-minute delays, we’d encourage employers to register as soon as possible.”

The GEO has also confirmed that it is planning to publish three separate lists of employers prior to the April deadline:

  • those who have already reported
  • those who have demonstrated that they are on track to report by registering with the website
  • those who have not yet taken action.

Given the publicity that gender pay issues are receiving in the media at the moment, this is a strong incentive to (at the very least) register with the website as no company will want to be publicly listed as ‘yet to take action’ when its competitors and peers are in the ‘already reported’ or ‘on track to report’ lists.

At present, there are few sanctions for failing to comply with the GPG rules other than the reputational and negative PR risks. This may be about to change. On 19 December 2017, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its draft enforcement strategy for pursuing large private, voluntary and public sector employers who fail to comply with the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. Comments on the strategy document can be made up to 2 February.

The EHRC has said that although the “first port of call” would be to engage cooperatively with employers who were in breach, they would use their wider enforcement powers to ensure compliance by:

  • Entering into written agreements with private, public and voluntary sector employers who are in breach, with a view to suspending other enforcement action.
  • Issuing unlawful act notices to private and voluntary sector employers who are in breach and have failed to comply with previous written agreements. The notices will require employers to create an action plan to remedy their breach which, if ignored, can be enforced through a court order.
  • Seeking unlimited “level 5” fines and summary convictions for those private, voluntary (and some public sector) employers who have failed to comply with subsequent court orders and formal notices.

If you would like any advice or assistance on gender pay gap reporting please contact David Smedley or Andrew Rayment.

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