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It is almost a year since the government first published the draft regulations on Gender Pay Gap Reporting. With legislation coming into effect from the 5th April, we recently launched a free gender pay reporting service to help employers meet their legal obligations.

As you would expect, we have had an extremely positive response to offering employers a free service to calculate their mandatory gender pay gap figures. Through our discussions with them it has also been interesting to hear what people are currently doing and the issues they are encountering.

Five most common Gender Pay Reporting issues

1. A number of employers want their Gender Pay Gap Report to be legally-privileged – i.e. providing their data via either an in-house legal department or external lawyers and then using a third-party (like us) to calculate their figures. This is important because although most employers are keen to determine their figures as soon as possible, they may delay publishing them until as late as next spring (but before April 2018 deadline). In the intervening period, unless calculated under legal privilege, an employer would be required (for example, by an employment tribunal) to disclose that they have already calculated their figures.

2. Some employers want to calculate their figures earlier than April and a small minority have already conducted a number of such ‘dummy-runs’. The publication of the draft legislation before Christmas has certainly helped focus employers’ minds and many are already developing a project plan to define and collate their data and then book a time for us to calculate their figures as soon as is practical.

3. Some already have plans in place to calculate their figures themselves, but are using our service to double-check their figures.

4. Where an organisation is part of a wider group, the responsibility for calculating the figures has generally been assumed at group-level; where the figures will be collated and calculated for each employing entity on their behalf.

5. With the calculation of the mandatory figures now arranged, employers are already thinking about what factors may be driving them. Some have already asked us whether we can split their calculations by job family or function, by age band, by service band, etc. This is important as this information can form the basis of the narrative to be included with the mandatory figures. This text can explain how the figures have been calculated (i.e. what is included in the definitions), what is driving them, and what equality and diversity initiatives are being undertaken to address any potential issues.

Employers currently broadly fit into three camps:

1. Those who have already looked at their Gender Pay figures and indeed also their Equal Pay position. As a result, they are implementing an action plan to address any issues ahead of April.

2. Those who are preparing now in order to calculate their Gender Pay figures as soon as possible after the 5th April. They can then decide what actions to take and when to publish them.

3. Those who are not currently looking at this and will wait until after the 5th April before deciding what they will do – because they consider that they can wait until next year before publishing.

We are increasingly seeing a shift between those in the third camp moving to the second camp. Despite this, there is still some reluctance amongst senior management to identify Gender Pay as a key issue this year. This is proving to be a frustrating barrier for some HR departments, both in terms of Gender Pay but also to undertaking a more detailed piece of work around Equal Pay. However, as this topic attracts more media coverage in the run up to April it will be interesting to see if more and more employers take up the baton.

If you have any questions on gender pay reporting or require further information on conducting an equal pay audit please contact our Gender Pay lines on 01733 391377 or via GenderPay@paydata.co.uk.

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