Under the Equality Act 2010, the Government has the option of producing regulations which require gender pay gap reporting from those who employ 250 employees or more. A provision was added to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, which requires the Government to introduce such regulations within one year of the 2015 Act coming into force. The 2015 Act came into force on 26 March 2015.
In mid-July, the Government launched a consultation regarding the nature of these regulations, which would apply to both private and voluntary sector employers. The consultation document "Closing the Gender Pay Gap" will also address "wider action that can be taken to inspire girls and young women, modernise workplaces and support older working women".
Statistics produced by the Office of National Statistics annual survey on earnings suggest that although the overall gender pay gap is reducing, it rises significantly for those who are 40 years old or older. The full time median pay gap is 9.4%, but for those in full time employment between the ages of 40 to 49 it is 13.6%. Moreover, while the Government has introduced voluntary gender pay gap reporting, in August 2014 only 4 companies had issued a report out of 275 companies who had signed up to the scheme, demonstrating that the current voluntary scheme has had very little impact.
The consultation will close on 6 September 2015, and it will be interesting to see the responses and how matters develop. It is expected that following this consultation a draft set of regulations will be produced and further consultation may take place.
Read Kate's full article on this topic here.