What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is the percentage difference between average hourly earnings for men and women.

In 2020, the UK reported a pay gap of 15.5% in favour of men, meaning that on average men are paid more than women. This is down from 17.4% in 2019, showing that the UK gender pay gap is continuing to decline slowly. Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland all reported lower gender pay gaps.

The gender pay gap is different from equal pay which states that you are entitled to the same wage as someone doing work of equal value to you. The gender pay gap considers all job roles and compares the average income of men and women in the workplace. A company might have a gender pay gap, despite paying men and females the same amount for similar roles, if most senior roles are filled by men.

Many social and political factors may contribute to a pay gap. These are:

  • Promotions – there is a lack of promotions for women who are in senior roles as men fill the majority.
  • Care – women are more likely to work part-time due to caring responsibilities for children and this often means a lower income.
  • Lower-paid roles – research shows that women are more likely to accept a lower-paid role.

What do Employers have to do?

The Gender Pay Gap Regulations require employers with 250 employees or more to report and publish information on their website and through the governments’ reporting website. This information includes:

  • The mean and median pay gap in hourly pay
  • The mean and median bonus pay gap
  • The proportion of males and females in each pay quartile
  • The proportion of males and females receiving a bonus

If there is a pay gap, employers are encouraged to comment on this and outline how they plan to reduce it.

What happens if an employer does not report their data?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a 6-month extension meaning that private employers have until 5 October 2021 to publish their data.

If they do not, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) can take enforcement action including court action and unlimited fines.

If you would like to discuss any points in this article further, please contact our Employment team at Spire Solicitors LLP on 01953 453143.