The Women and Equalities Committee takes evidence from two panels on the gender pay gap reporting requirements and best practice.
Reporting requirements: who and how?
The first panel discusses reporting requirements, looking at who the regulations should apply to and what makes them most effective.
The Government is committed to implementing s78 of the Equality Act which requires employers with at least 250 employees to publish information about the pay of their male and female employees. This is mandated under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. Publication of the draft regulations is expected soon.
The Equality Act 2010 limits reporting requirements to companies with at least 250 employees – which employ around 40% of the total workforce. In October 2015 the Government announced that larger employers would also have to publish bonus information by gender, and that reporting rules would be extended to include the public sector.
The EEF, the CBI and CIPD all submitted evidence to the inquiry arguing in favour of maintaining the threshold of 250 employees. SMEs often lack the resources and capabilities to analyse their data in detail, and may have more limited HR and internal compliance functions than larger employers.
However, most other stakeholders called for reporting requirements to be extended: SMEs account for 60% of all private sector employment in the UK, and the majority of third sector organisations – where 68% of employees are women. The DLA suggests that collating the statistics should be straightforward for any company with even a modest pay-roll system, and that the potential benefits outweigh the costs.
Best practice: what works?
The second panel considers best practice, looking at initiatives which have succeeded in reducing the gender pay gap, and what more could be done. The session covers best practice in higher education, low paid sectors, pay and progression, flexibility, outsourcing and procurement.
Discussions focus on:
- Understanding what the higher education system has done to reduce the gender pay gap and what others can learn from this.
- Specific measures that have evidence of success in helping lower paid women increase their wages.
- The role which Government or local authority procurement might play in reducing the gender pay gap.