Should we voluntarily report our gender pay gap figures?

28 September 2018

Although your business may not legally be required to publish the figures, it’s important for companies with less than 250 employees to be aware of their own gender pay gap. The figures can help highlight patterns of exclusion or disparity in pay, allowing your organisation to recognise signs of unconscious bias and help take steps towards opportunities and recognition for all staff.

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 (the Regulations), which came into force on 6 April 2017, are directed at all employers with 250 employees or more, and are applicable to private, voluntary and public-sector organisations in England, Scotland and Wales. However as of mid-September 2018, just under 300 employers have also voluntarily published their results on the Government portal.

What are the benefits to publishing our gender pay gap figures?

Companies reporting on their figures demonstrate transparency and assure not only existing employees that the relevant steps are being taken to promote an equal pay structure, but also benefit company culture by helping to retain employees and attract new talent.

Despite smaller companies potentially being in a more difficult position to offer employee benefits such as childcare or being able to provide equipment required for flexible working, there are other options such as childcare vouchers or support to those returning to work after taking family leave.

Ultimately, your organisation can use this opportunity to commit to closing the gap, foster the practice of investigating unequal pay scales and work to rectify them. This will stand in the organisation’s favour, encouraging the business to be well regarded both internally and externally, as well as preparing for potential legal changes the business will inevitably face as it grows.

Will we be required to report on our gender pay gap in the future?

In August 2018, the Government’s BEIS Committee (Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) recommended that the qualifying threshold for gender pay gap reporting should be widened to include businesses with 50 or more staff, in time for April 2020’s reporting deadline. They have also proposed partners are incorporated into the calculations.

Regardless of any changes to the regulations, if your organisation is nearly at the 250 employee mark or expects to be within the next few years, calculating your results ahead of when you will be required to publish will help prepare the company. Your business can plan early and attempt for the first time to work out what is causing their gaps in both pay and bonus. Subsequently, carrying out interventions such as reviews of recruitment and selection processes, analysis of turnover and any issues with retention that need addressing, can assist with remedying the gender pay figures when the time comes to publish.

What challenges may small businesses face when calculating their gender pay gap results?

At an operational level, measuring the gender pay gap can be a labour intensive and technical task. The issue of resourcing can be more complicated in a business with a smaller HR presence or no in-house HR role. The responsibility for the calculations may fall to administrators or support staff who may not be equipped or fully resourced to deliver the correct figures.

If you have any questions regarding the above, including if you would like advice about calculating your gender pay gap, please contact Frankie Davis or Kerri Constable.