News - Gender pay gap consultation launched

The Government has confirmed that it will legislate under the Equality Act 2010 to make it necessary for companies with 250 or more employees to publish gender pay gap information. A consultation paper has been published on the detail of the regulations to be made, seeking views on the level of gender pay information to be required and the frequency of publication.

The consultation document, ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap’, indicates that the new regulations will require private and voluntary sectors in Great Britain with at least 250 employees to publish information about the pay of their male and female employees. ‘Employees’ for this purpose is defined as anyone employed under a contract of employment or apprenticeship or under any contract personally to do work. The consultation seeks views on the level of detail of gender pay gap information that should be required. It asks whether the information should be the overall difference between the average earnings of men and women as a percentage of men's earnings, or whether it should be broken down by full-time and part-time employees, or by grade or job type. It also asks whether employers should be required to provide additional, contextual information, explaining any pay gaps and setting out what remedial action they intend to take; and how often employers should be required to publish such information. The information can be required to be published annually at most.

The consultation closes on 6 September 2015. The regulations are expected to be made in the first half of 2016, although implementation may be delayed to give businesses time to prepare.

Comment

"This new piece of legislation, if it comes into force, will only affect larger employers, but for them it will be a significant change in the law. There will be a considerable burden on large employers to report the required information and any businesses that will be affected are encouraged to take part in the consultation, " says Kate Fretten, Employment Partner

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