Is the Gender Pay Gap going to be a priority anytime soon?

Gender pay might seem further away today than it ever has. Are you aware that the deadline for Gender Pay Gap reporting is 31st March 2020 for public sector, and 4th April 2020 for private sector businesses.  The Government has postponed this action until 2021 due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Some companies will be breathing a huge sigh of relief – lets face it, Gender Pay Gap reporting takes a lot of work and right now, with everything else we have to think about, many will be glad to cross this off the list.  But the decision was made so close to the deadline that is it worth putting to one side?

According to Personnel Today, more than 3,000 companies (a quarter of those expected) have already published their data and many more will have done the leg work and were probably very close to uploading.

So, for those who were nearing the end of the analysis, will you park it for this year?  Or will you proceed?  Here are some things to consider:

  • What have you spent the year doing to improve your gender pay gap? If you’ve done anything at all this should be something that you want to shout about – let people know because we suspect there will be a lot of movement in the recruitment market once this is over and you want to stand out.
  • If you have seen a gradual reduction in your pay gap, be aware that your numbers are likely to look very different next year. Use this opportunity to show the progress you were making and how you can jump back.
  • Think of all the work that has already gone in to preparing the numbers and narrative. If it is ready to go, don’t let that work go to waste.
  • It is likely that the impact of Covid-19 on earnings will show a disproportionate impact on women with many working in retail, hospitality and education. If companies don’t publish, we will be unable to see the full impact of Covid-19 on the UK workforce but also at a company level.
  • At some point in the (hopefully) near future, companies will need to review their pay and check that decisions that are being made now will not open them up to equal pay claims. They will also want to get back on track with reducing the pay gap.  Having this data will help show a before and after position and where they need to focus their attention.
  • Having year on year data to refer back to and compare will help paint a picture of progress, or highlight a lack of progress with the narrative, especially for next year, being paramount in explaining the numbers.

Finally, we don’t yet know how the Governments intervention on supporting employees and businesses with the Employee Retention Scheme will impact on reporting methods for next year.  So this will be something to look out for ahead of the 2020 reporting window.

But the issue remains that we have a gender pay gap and we need to close it as soon as possible. Reporting is just one tool and anything your company does proactively helps.

Christina Jones – Amelore Reward Lead