Julie Docherty is the External Training Manager at Acas. She has recently developed the new Acas Gender Pay Reporting training course to help UK employers get to grips with this new responsibility.
Gender pay reporting becomes compulsory in the UK for organisations in the private or voluntary sectors with 250 or more employees on 5th April 2017. The requirement to gather data starts from 2017, with the requirement for an annual report to be published by employers no later than 4th April every year as from 2018. In the public sector the requirements apply to organisations with 250 or more employees on 31st March 2017 and the annual report is to be published no later than the 30th March each year from 2018.
Taking action on the gender pay gap
Many organisations have heard about these new regulations but now is the time where they need to start taking action. Do the regulations apply to them? Is it the public or private sector provisions that will apply? Is the data ready to report on, and have they planned when to publish the report?
Employers have to provide six basic calculations:
- Mean gender pay gap
- Median gender pay gap
- Mean bonus pay gap
- Median bonus pay gap
- Proportion of males and females receiving a bonus
- The proportion of males and females in each quartile band
In addition to publishing the information in an accessible way on the company website, employers will also have to place the information on a Government website.
Adding a narrative to help explain context
As well as publishing the calculations, employers can also provide a supplementary narrative that can be used to explain the size of an organisation’s gender pay gap and what steps the employer intends to take to close the gap. For example, industries which have a culture of bonus payments as a part of their employees’ pay tend to be male dominated and are likely to have a higher bonus pay gap than other industries. These employers can use the narrative to explain the reasons for the gap and what they are going to do to tackle it.
Using the information to help address organisational gender pay gaps
Gender pay gap reporting will enable employers to look at pay, bonuses and career progression by gender within their organisation and identify and take steps to address any gap. If the regulations prompt more employers and employees to be more aware of gender pay, and more active in tackling any inequality, that can only help the UK accelerate in closing the gender pay gap.
Support for employers
Acas and the Government Equalities Office have produced a comprehensive guide available at www.acas.org.uk/genderpay to help employers prepare. In addition to this guidance, Acas has published a factsheet on the obligations for employers.
Acas is also running training courses on gender pay gap reporting across the country.
Voluntary reporting for smaller employers
Employers with less than 250 employees can voluntarily publish their gender pay gap figures. Reporting and taking steps to manage any gender pay gap tells employees that their employer is committed to diversity in the workplace and it wants its staff to reach their full potential, irrespective of gender. An employer’s reputation is likely to be enhanced amongst existing employees and future recruits.