The rule, which came into force on 5 April, applies to all private, voluntary and public sector employers, and is likley to affect most medium and large nursery groups.
According to the Government the regulations will cover around 9,000 employers with more than 15 million employees, nearly half of the UK’s workforce. The rules will be enforced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Government says that the UK is one of the first countries to require companies to report on the gender pay gap.
All employers with 250 employees or more will be required to publish information relating to pay, regardless of the make-up or duration of employment of the workforce.
The number of employees is taken on the ‘snapshot date’, which is 5 April in each year. The first gender pay report will be required from eligible businesses by 4 April 2018.
While the early years and childcare sector is a predominately female workforce, a gender pay gap of 4.5 per cent does exist, according to Office for National Statistics figures published last December http://visual.ons.gov.uk/find-out-the-gender-pay-gap-for-your-job/
This compares to the UK gender pay gap, which is at a record low of 18.1 per cent.
Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening said, ‘We have more women in work, more women-led businesses than ever before and the highest proportion of women on the boards of our biggest companies. This has helped us to narrow the gender pay gap to a record 18.1 per cent – but we want to eliminate it completely.
‘Helping women to reach their full potential isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense and is good for British business. I am proud that the UK is championing gender equality and now those employers that are leading the way will clearly stand out with these requirements.’
According to the Government eliminating work-related gender gaps could add an extra £150 billion to the UK’s annual GDP by 2025.
Under the new regulations employers will be required to:
Publish their median gender pay gap figures
By identifying the wage of the middle earner, the median is the best representation of the ‘typical’ gender difference. Employers will be asked to use data from a ‘snapshot’ period in April to calculate this average.
Publish their mean gender pay gap figures
By taking into account the full earnings distribution, the mean look at both the low and high earners in an organisation – this is particularly useful as women are often over-represented at the low earning extreme and men are over-represented at the high earning extreme.
Publish the proportion of men & women in each quartile of the pay structure.
This data will show the spread of male and female earners across an organisation, helping to show employers where women’s progress might be stalling so they can take action to support their career development.
Publish the gender pay gaps for any bonuses paid out during the year
As there is a significant issue around bonus payments in some sectors, employers will also have to publish the proportion of male and proportion of female employees that received a bonus during the year.
Employers will also be encouraged to publish an action plan alongside their figures to show the steps they are taking to close the gender pay gap in their organization.
The Government is working with leading employers who are exploring publishing their figures early.
The Government Equalities Office has also launched a new campaign page where employers can access resources, case studies and publish their gender pay gap figures.
Caroline Robins, employment lawyer, Caroline Robins, senior associate solicitor at Eversheds, said that nurseries with more than 250 employees will be required to publish their data.
‘Such data must be published on a government-sponsored website and on the nursery website for at least three years. However, there are currently no specific penalties for non-compliance,’ she said.
- See ‘Childcare Counsel’.