Firms asked to disclose gender pay gap figures

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Yesterday April 5th at  11:30 pm the UK government passed a Gender Pay Gap law which requires any organisation with 250 employees of more to publish their annual gender pay data.

And may we just say… finally.

Perhaps a result of Theresa May’s pledge to defeat the long standing pay discrepancy between men and women, the new law reflects the UK government’s new aim to end the difference between salaries of both genders. It only seems timely that only a year before the 100th anniversary of the year women got their vote, companies should have to, for the first time, calculate and disclose their Gender Pay Gap in their annual report.

The Gender Pay Gap (GPG) is calculated as follows:

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Source: UK Government Site

The average female hourly earnings are subtracted from the male average hourly earnings. After that, the remainder is divided by the average male hourly earnings. Finally, that figure is multiplied by 100 to give the Gender Pay Gap.

Inequality in 2017

However, whilst this is a substantial big step into ending the discrepancy in salaries between genders, the effectiveness of the law will remain to be seen. When the Equal Pay law was first introduced it made it illegal for companies to pay their female colleagues less than their male colleagues for the same job. However, a mere 46 years later, full-time employed women are still reported to have a 9.4% lower salary than full-time male employees.

Of the 2.9 million lone parents families in the UK reported in 2016, 86% were headed by a female lone parent. And yet, though making up the majority on single parents in the UK, women continue to be penalised with lower pay and fewer promotions after maternity leave.  In fact, when compared to other country’s progress on gender-equality, the UK seemed to be decreasing as it went down from it’s 2006 position as 6th to number 20 in 2016. Furthermore, the Gender Pay Gap act revealed how there is currently a 54.9% gender pay gap between highest paid men and women in the UK. At this rate,

estimates gathered it would take 99 years after it’s instalment for the equal pay act to be accomplished.

Though a major step into Theresa May’s promise to finally close what seems like an impossible gap in gender salary difference, the question remains how effective the Gender Pay Act will actually be.  Will placing employers under greater scrutiny help Britain finally close the gender gap? Or does this require a deeper change in society with a true acceptance of women as equals, and a reform of societal thinking?

What the GPG Act entails

Under the Gender Pay Gap Act, employers with over 250 employees must both publish their gender pay gap data and a written statement on their public-facing website, and report their data to government online. They also require organisations to include a summary of the actions the company plans to take to correct the gender pay gap.

To ensure results, a page has been set up on the UK government site dedicated to explaining the act, the goals, and the next steps. They provide case studies on how employers across different sectors are taking steps into closing the gender pay gap, Acas and GEO joint guidance on reporting your gender pay gap, and give recommendations into what your company can do to start closing the gender pay gap.

Recommendations include; promoting flexible working for all, promoting shared parental leave and ensure support for those returning to work after maternity or paternity leave, and talking to your employers about what the barriers are to progressing in the workplace.

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The Benefits of Gender Diversity

Diversity, whether it be gender, cultural, or socioeconomic, has long since been a benefit to companies. Including a diversity of workforce in the workplace widens your perspective, and allows you to broaden your understanding of customers in the market and improves reaching your audience.

The benefits of promoting gender diversity in the workplace are just as substantial. Not only does it improve your reputation and meet the diverse need of customers and suppliers, but it attracts an improved pool of talent, increases staff retention by making them feel valued and supported, and has been shown to boost staff productivity.

Gender diversity is a benefit to all, and supporting gender equally should be a priority. This act, whilst late, represents a recommitment from the UK government to truly accomplishing equal pay in the workforce, essentially moving into a society that encourages gender equality.