In February the Government published draft Regulations that will introduce mandatory gender pay gap reporting. It intends the Regulations to come into force on 1 October 2016. Affected employers will then have a lead-in time of 18 months to publish the required information; taking a preliminary data snap-shot in April 2017, then publishing the required data within 12 months, and by 30 April 2018 at the latest.
The Regulations will apply to private and voluntary sector employers (in England, Wales and Scotland) with 250 or more employees who ordinarily work in Great Britain and whose employment contracts are governed by UK law. Among other things, affected employers will be required to publish their overall mean and median gender pay gaps, and to report on the number of men and women in each quartile of their pay distributions. They will need to publish this information on both their own (publicly available) websites and on a government-sponsored website, and to update the information on an annual basis.
The Government aims to monitor compliance levels closely and plans publishing guidance on the Regulations later in the year. It also intends producing league tables by sector (as opposed to identifying particular employers), but as the information will be publicly available it is likely that, certainly in the early years, the media will make much of employers with large gender pay differentials.
The Government suggests that extracting the relevant data should not incur "significant additional costs". However, while we await the detailed guidance, affected employers within the sector should be turning their minds to how the information required will be captured. There could be significant reputational implications for voluntary sector employers who get this wrong.
A fuller version of this article, with a more detailed examination of the Regulations, can be found here.
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© Farrer & Co LLP, May 2016