Gender equality in the workplace: exploring the gender pay gap

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In 2020, the UK reported a gender pay gap of 15.5%, in favour of men.

This means on average, men are paid more than women.

The gender pay gap is different from equal pay. Under the Equality Act, women and men legally should be paid the same for the same job.

The gender pay gap takes into account all job roles and compares the average earnings of men and women in the workplace.

There are many social and political reasons that may give rise to a gender pay gap, such as:

  • caring responsibilities, such as caring for children or elderly relatives, are often undertaken by women. Women are more likely to work part-time than men and be paid less as a result.
  • research suggests that women are more likely to take a lower-paid role. According to the Living Wage Foundation, 60% of those earning below the living wage are women.
  • there is a lack of promotions for women in senior roles. Research suggests that men fill senior roles in the majority.

What are the responsibilities of employers?

The Gender Pay Gap Regulations require employers with over 250 employees to produce a report and publish the following calculations:

  • mean gender pay gap in hourly pay;
  • median gender pay gap in hourly pay;
  • mean bonus gender pay gap;
  • median bonus gender pay gap;
  • proportion of males and females receiving a bonus payment; and
  • proportion of males and females in each pay quartile.

These calculations must be published on the employer’s website and through the government gender pay gap reporting website.

Employers are encouraged to set out a narrative in their report explaining why there is a gender pay gap within their organisation, and what action they plan to take to reduce any gap.

The narrative is an opportunity for an employer to show their commitment to gender equality, build trust with employees and progress the business transparently.

When do Employers need to report and what happens if they don’t?

A 6-month extension has been announced for private employers due to Covid-19. Employers will need to publish their gender pay gap data by 5 October 2021.

If an employer has not adhered to the regulations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) can take enforcement action.

Enforcement by the EHRC could include Court action and unlimited fines.

It is essential that employers strive for equality and make attempts to minimise the gender pay gap.

Need any help?

Our Employment team can provide assistance with reporting, please contact 0330 404 0767 for further information.


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