Pay remains firmly in the headlines, from the government launching a consultation into extending mandatory pay reporting obligations to the ethnicity pay gap, to the new publication requirements around CEO and worker pay ratios and the increasing equal pay litigation hitting the private sector – this is a topic which is here to stay.
With only five months until the next gender pay reporting deadline of 4 April 2019, gender pay should be rising to the top of the business agenda (if it is not already there).
An increasing pressure to ensure compliance
The stakes are higher this year. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has demonstrated that it is willing to take robust enforcement action against those who do not comply, with its powers taking the form of investigations, potential court action and the threat of unlimited fines, as well as naming and shaming. The audience is also likely to be more judgemental this time around – assessing what action has been taken to address any gap publicised last year and whether or not it has had any impact on the figures and investors are also starting to take more of an interest. Indeed, businesses should be astute to the fact that interest in gender pay reporting may extend beyond the domestic market to those working for the business in international subsidiaries and who may want to know what kind of business they are working for.
The importance of taking a proactive approach
As well as avoiding enforcement action and bad publicity, are there any upsides to going beyond the ‘bare minimum’ legislative requirements? In short – yes: taking a proactive approach to gender pay will help you to:
- Retain your talent (both female and male) and attract talent away from your competitors.
- Motivate your workforce and increase productivity.
- Improve the reputation of your employer brand.
- Manage the risk of equal pay claims.
What should you be doing now?
So, as we head towards 4 April 2019, what steps should you be taking now?
Key actions include the following:
- Take stock of the extent of the issue – review what figures you would be reporting if you were reporting today.
- Review what commitments were made in your last pay gap report and assess what progress you have made so far.
- Consider what your narrative will be for the steps you have taken and to position your business’s progress – or lack of progress – this year.
- Understand your workforce demographic and risk profile and decide where to focus your efforts.
- Review your wider processes to identify weak areas and consider steps for change.
- Consider the effects and impact on your wider international workforce on the steps you take for the UK.
- Ensure as far as possible that the steps you take do not create unhelpful unprivileged documents, trigger equal pay claims or negatively impact on your reputation.
We would be happy to discuss with you your gender pay reporting for this year and how this sits with any report and commitments made last year. We will shortly be launching our Gender Pay Reporting Platform to guide you through the process of assessing your gender pay risk profile and preparing for 4 April 2019 and will be very happy to discuss how we can use this to work with you in tackling gender pay within your organisation.