As we mentioned in our blog post on April 9 the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (SBEEA) contains a number of reforms, many of which are aimed at enhancing the transparency of UK companies. One such reform is the provision relating to equal pay transparency which will require employers with 250 or more employees to publish information relating to the pay of employees for the purpose of showing whether there are differences in the pay of male and female employees.

On 14 July 2015 the Government launched its consultation on ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap’ seeking views on the mandatory gender pay gap reporting. The consultation paper is asking for responses to the following questions (amongst others):

  • Whether publication of gender pay data will encourage employers to take action to close the pay gap, or otherwise affect behaviour (for example, by encouraging women to consider a wider variety of careers, or encouraging employers to support flexible working or shared parental leave).
  • Whether the regulations should specify where the gender pay gap figures are to be published.
  • How frequently the information should be published.
  • Whether employers’ existing  systems and data are capable of producing the metrics that are under consideration and whether existing systems allow for analysing data by means of an overall figure, a figure broken down by full- time and part- time employees or a figure broken down by grade or job type.
  • Whether the regulations should require further additional narrative information which provides context, or whether this should be voluntary (and if voluntary, whether there should be non-statutory guidance on it).
  • What is the actual/estimated costs and time involved in analysing and publishing the data.
  • Should commencement be on a phased basis, for example requiring larger employers (i.e. with at least 500 employees) to publish the required information earlier than those with 250 employees.
  • What should be the cut off period for the calculation of the gender pay gap, for example should it be a calendar year, the tax year, the year-end date for each business or 1 October?

This Consultation closes on 6 September 2015 and a government response will be published after that date with a view to making regulations under the SBEEA during the first half of 2016.

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