Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

First UK corporate gender pay gap reports published

Out-Law News | 24 Apr 2017 | 5:12 pm | 2 min. read

Large UK companies have begun publishing their gender pay gap (GPG) data on a government website set up for the purpose.

The government's GPG viewing service will allow anyone to view the mean and median gender pay gaps of those businesses subject to new reporting requirements, as well as their bonus gaps and the proportion of men and women within each pay 'quartile' of the business.

The published data can also be filtered by business sector and company name, making it easy for businesses subject to the new requirements to see how their competitors are performing, according to GPG reporting expert Helen Corden of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.

All private and voluntary sector employers with more than 250 staff will be required to report on their gender pay gap information as at 5 April 2017 by 6 April 2018. To date, only one company has submitted its information to the GPG viewing service, but the portal "shows how the statistics will be reported and the search function that is included", Corden said.

Employers subject to the gender pay gap reporting regulations will be required to publish their overall mean and median pay gaps based on gross hourly pay for men and women, expressed as a percentage; as well as their mean and median gender bonus gaps. They will also be required to publish the proportion of male and female employees within each quartile of their pay distribution, ordered from lowest to highest pay, as well as the proportion of both men and women that have been paid a bonus in the preceding 12 month period.

This information must be published on the employer's own website, as well as via the government portal. Similar requirements came into force for public sector employers on 31 March 2017.

By identifying the wage of the middle earner, the median GPG figure will provide the best representation of the 'typical' pay difference between genders at that employer, according to the government. The mean GPG will take into account the low and high earners employed by that business, showing the extent to which women are over-represented among low earners and men over-represented among high earners, the government said.

Publishing pay quartile date will "show the spread of male and female earners across [the] organisation, helping to show employers where women's progress might be stalling so they can take action to support their career development"; while the requirement to publish the proportion of male and proportion of female employees that received a bonus during the year will improve transparency around bonus payments, according to the government.

Employers will also be encouraged, although not required, to publish additional narrative information alongside the figures on their own websites. This will allow them to demonstrate "the steps they will take to close the gender pay gap within their organisation", the government said.

A number of businesses have already chosen to publish some GPG information early as part of their 2016 annual reports. High street bank Virgin Money has reported a 36% GPG as of April 2016 and will publish its April 2017 GPG and supporting information "in the first half of 2017", according to its annual report (276-page / 6.3MB PDF). Schroders reported a 33% mean hourly GPG, and a 59% mean variable GPG, across its global business, and will publish UK-specific figures shortly, according to its 2016 remuneration report (29-page / 1MB PDF).