Why gender pay gap should still be a priority despite the reporting suspension

26 June 2020

The Government suspended the gender pay gap reporting deadline for April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, giving employers more time to report their gender pay gap whilst managing the effects of the global pandemic on their businesses.

With this suspension still in place, many companies will have deferred preparing their reporting of the 5 April 2019 snapshot date gender pay gap figures. The other consideration is reporting for next year now that the usual snapshot date has been and gone. Whilst some organisations will be busy preparing as usual to report in April 2021, many others may decide not to focus on this right now due to the lack of information about what is required of them now. Although the government has now said employers should get on and work on their figures which needed reporting earlier this year.

We think it’s important that employers keep this issue on their agenda despite the Government providing additional time to report this year. Firstly, it is still a legal requirement to report each year – the 2020 deadline suspension has not removed this requirement altogether. Secondly, it is also important that issues around diversity and inclusion remain high on the business agenda, particularly from a trust and confidence and good governance point of view. 

Organisations that are committed and can evidence their commitment to these equality and social justice issues will find themselves in a stronger position than those that cannot. Transparency in reporting on pay helps employers demonstrate their commitment in this area.

Employers who want to go beyond their current legal obligations will be interested to learn that a recent petition calling for ethnicity pay gap reporting has obtained over 100,000 signatures. Many organisations will now be reviewing the opportunities they afford to black and minority ethnic employees and reviewing if they need to take any more strategic actions to improve. Currently there is no legal requirement for employers to report on ethnicity pay but this is very likely to change in the future.

For those employers that are not recording and monitoring ethnicity for diversity and inclusion purposes, now would be a good time to start. Before employers embark on this they should make sure their employee data privacy notices are up to date in order to support the collating, recording, and monitoring of this information.

Finally, it will be interesting to see how gender pay gap reporting is affected this year by the furloughing arrangements many companies have had to put in place. Many organisations may find that their April salary data is not representative of a ‘normal’ pay period due to the specific measures they have had to take around furloughing and pay during that month. We await further guidance from government to find out whether reporting will be resumed as normal but, in the meantime, we recommend a continuing focus on this important business issue and the resumption of reporting.

If you need any support or advice on these topics, please contact Kerri Constable.

 

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