Equality | Gender Pay Reporting 2019: the narrative is key for year two

Gender Pay Reporting 2019: the narrative is key for year two
Promoted by Gender Pay Reporting 2019: the narrative is key for year two

With Brexit at the forefront of most HR professionals’ minds, you could be forgiven for having pushed the gender pay calculator to one side until now. But with the 4 April reporting deadline looming once again, what can HR managers learn from the 2018 cycle?

What did last year’s figures tell us?

Most companies weren’t in a rush as the vast majority (79.8%) waited until the last month before the deadline to publish their figures, with 55.2% of those not publishing until the final week. An analysis of the figures shows that three quarters of private and voluntary sector employers reported a median gender pay gap in favour of men and nearly two thirds reported a median gender bonus gap in favour of men.

Changes for 2019

Strictly speaking, there are no new legal requirements for the second year of gender pay reporting.

In August 2018, a Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee report called on the Government to extend gender pay reporting to smaller employers and introduce mandatory narratives to explain gender pay figures. In January 2019, however, the Government rejected these recommendations for the time being.

There is a case, however, for all businesses to consider the narrative. There is a strong push from the GEO, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Acas, as well as public and workforce desire to see companies publishing not just explanatory narratives but also action plans which look at ways to actually tackle a gender pay gap. Without a narrative, gender pay gap figures can, at best, be fairly meaningless and, at worst, give rise to negative assumptions – especially if the gap has increased year on year. An action plan setting out realistic ways to reduce the gap can help publicly demonstrate an employer’s commitment to creating a fairer workplace.

Do we know anything about this year’s figures yet?

To-date, few employers have published their current year’s figures, but those that have present an interesting picture: a recent BBC report identified that, of the 1,146 companies that had published their figures as at 19 February 2019, 40% had experienced a widening of their gender pay gap since last year.

Gender pay reports must remain on an employer’s own website for at least three years, so comparisons against the previous year’s figures can be easily made. For employers who find that their gap has widened, therefore, an explanatory narrative will be particularly important to limit reputational damage.

How Make Business can help

With a range of advice and guidance packages and consultancy services Make Business can help businesses to conduct gender pay reporting, provide advice on the steps you should take and how to tackle any difficult issues.

We can also support you on a consultancy basis according to your needs, from full oversight of the reporting process to specific concerns such as internal and external communication of gender pay results. For further information, call 0808 168 5874 or visit www.makeuk.org/business

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