The gender pay gap is an issue that is not going away. With the new requirements for gender pay gap reporting now in force, many organisations will find themselves exposed.
Gender pay is different to equal pay. Whereas equal pay is the legal requirement to pay men and women the same rate for doing the same job. Gender pay comes from a mathematical calculation of what, on average, women and men in the same organisation earn.
In this sense, it is potentially harder to address. Will, then, making the gender pay gap more transparent, help to close it.
The new reporting requirements, in force since April 2017, require any private sector organisations with over 250 employees to collect and publish gender pay gap information.
It is likely that issues raised by this reporting process will pass to HR to look at and resolve.
The information that the reporting requires includes: differences in hourly rates between male and female employees; differences in average bonus pay; and the proportion of male and female employees receiving bonus pay.
From a strategic viewpoint, HR will need to focus on areas of communication, and on pay and rewards. No organisation should want its employees to find out about its gender pay gap through the media first.
With the focus on policies, it is then a question of what measures employers should take to try and close the gender pay gap.
There will be issues around how to raise pay for women, and looking at under-representation in key areas. Other measures could include flexible working and how to hire and promote more women.
Is Greater Transparency a Start?
The new reporting requirements are not without controversy. Some criticism has been around whether they serve to deflect criticism from the government for not taking more practical steps to address the gender pay gap issue.
These might include, for example, improved shared parental leave arrangements.
However, what the reporting requirements will do, and to an extent what is already happening with the gender pay issues at the BBC and the Department for Education, is establishing the idea of openness.
Hopefully fostering an environment of greater disclosure will encourage more practical policies to emerge, that will help close the gender pay gap.
If your business would like HR expertise to close equal pay or gender pay gaps, please contact us.