We have previously reported on the government’s plans to introduce legislation requiring certain private and voluntary sector employers to report key information about their gender pay gaps. In February 2016, the details of the reporting obligations and draft Regulations were published. It was originally expected that these would come into force in October 2016.
Last week, the government published a consultation paper on closing the gender pay gap in the public sector. It sets out plans to introduce similar reporting obligations to those planned for the private and voluntary sectors. This will ensure that all relevant employers are collecting the same type of data and using the same methodology, enabling consistency across larger organisations.
The consultation comments that, as the draft Regulations have already been developed through the initial consultation, they are not seeking extensive comments. Instead, it is interested in any particular issues relevant to public bodies.
The draft Regulations will apply to organisations with 250 or more employees. The public sector bodies are listed in Schedules 1 and 2 to the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011, however, despite the ONS re-classification of housing associations in October 2015 as ‘public sector’ bodies, they are not included.
The government has also confirmed that the Regulations will come into force later than expected, in April 2017. The previous timeframe – that employers will be expected to capture their first set of gender pay gap data in April 2017, and to publish the information before April 2018 – is likely to remain the same. Employers should consider whether they are affected by these Regulations and act accordingly. Preparations could include conducting a gender pay audit, taking steps to address any gender pay gap, and considering how and in what form the annual report will be published.
The consultation runs until 30 September 2016 and can be accessed here. For any questions regarding the consultation, or your reporting obligations under the new regime, please contact a member of the Devonshires Employment Team.