So, what is the gender pay gap?
The gender pay gap refers to the difference between what is earned by women and men based on their average gross hourly earnings, which extends beyond men and women doing the same job or with the same experience or working patterns. Gender pay is, therefore, a separate issue to the concept of equal pay for like work.
Why should employers be concerned?
The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill (the Bill) was published recently, following the debate of two separate bills that had previously been proposed. It is thought the Bill will be enacted by the end of 2019.
The purpose of the Bill is to require certain employers to publish information relating to gender pay and, where there is a gap, the measures (if any) being taken, or proposed to be taken, to eliminate or reduce such gap.
The Bill provides for a phased introduction of the requirements on certain employers to report on the gender pay gap, if any. With the current draft of the Bill, the reporting requirements are determined by the size of the organisation, and are currently proposed as follows:
- All organisations with 250 or more employers will be required to report on the variance of men and women’s pay/salary. Presumably, such employers will be given a certain period of time to produce the report from the date the Bill is implemented. However, as currently drafted, the Bill has yet to confirm what this timeframe might look like;
- Reporting obligations for organisations with between 249 – 150 employees will arise from the 2nd anniversary of the legislation being implemented;
- Reporting obligations for organisations with between 50 – 149 employees will arise from the 3rd anniversary of the legislation being implemented; and
- Any organisation with less than 50 employees will not be bound by the Bill, therefore they will have no gender pay gap reporting obligations.
Therefore, any organisation that has 250 or more employees should start to consider preparing for the enactment of the Bill.
The Bill proposes that the information which must be published includes the differences between male and female employees in relation to:
- mean and median hourly remuneration;
- mean and median bonus remuneration; and
- mean and median hourly remuneration of part-time employees.
In addition, information is required to be published in relation to the percentages of male and female employees who:
- were paid bonuses; and
- received benefits in kind.
Under the Bill, employers may also be required to publish information:
- by reference to job classifications;
- on the differences between the mean and median hourly remuneration of male and female employees on temporary contracts; and
- on the percentages of all employees who fall within various pay bands highlighting who are male and female.
In addition to furnishing the above stats, the Bill requires all applicable employers to publish a statement setting out, in the employer’s opinion, the reasons for any differences relating to remuneration that are referable to gender.
It is also currently proposed that employers will be required to publish the relevant information annually, at most.
While gender pay reporting may seem like a long way down the track for some employers, our advice is to start preparing for same as soon as possible, in particular, employers with at least 250 employees.
Please feel free to contact Ogier Leman, should you need any advice in starting your GPG planning.