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Over 10,500 organisations in Britain with 250 or more employees have reported their gender pay gap for 2019, following successful enforcement action against late reporters by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

In total, the ECHR notified 46 private sector and 4 public sector organisations of their intention to open statutory investigations into their failure to report their gender pay gap data on time. They also publicly named the organisations. This included three ‘repeat offenders’ that had failed to report on time two years in a row.

Since 2017, private and voluntary sector employers with more than 250 employees have been required to produce an annual report on their gender pay gap on both pay and bonuses.

The Director of the Government Equalities Office, Hilary Spencer, has informed the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee that plans are underway to develop and expand gender pay gap reporting. Among Hilary Spencer’s recommendations is the proposal to lower the threshold for reporting obligations, meaning that it would also apply to smaller employers. This comes after the TUC, who represent most Trade Unions, highlighted the need for companies to actively develop ways to reduce their figures, ensuring they are not simply treating reporting as an exercise in compliance.

The Government is also considering strengthening authorities’ enforcement powers. All proposed changes will be put to public consultation.

If the proposal to lower the threshold for reporting obligations under gender pay gap reporting is implemented, it is thought that the same obligations for reporting will apply, which are as follows:

  1. The gender pay gap information has to be posted annually on the employer’s website and the employer must retain the information online for three years.
  2. There is a prescribed format for how the information must be presented.
  3. Employers must also upload the information to a Government website.
  4. Employers can place a narrative on their publication explaining any reasons for a pay gap or steps they are taking to reduce the pay gap.

So, what can we take from this? Firstly, the ECHR does take action if you fail to report. If you have more than 250 employees make sure you report on time. It also tells us that in the not too distant future, it is likely that smaller employers will have to start reporting on their gender pay gap. Our experience of working with bigger companies already caught by the reporting obligations, is that it is quite a lot of preparatory work. For that reason, we would recommend smaller employers be mindful of thinking of this now. Finally, it also suggests that the law may move from being a reporting mechanism to requiring employers to have remedies in place for tackling their gender pay gap. We will report on this further when there are developments.

If you have any questions on this article, or any other area of Employment Law or HR, please contact Rob Tice on 01332 866610 or email at rob.tice@precepthr.com.