Gender pay reporting a top concern for employers
Companies urged to plan ahead before new regulations come into force
Gender pay reporting has been identified as one of the key challenges in the years ahead for employers, a new study has revealed.
'The Future of Employment Legal Services' - a collaboration between Lewis Silkin and research partner Winmark - analysed which issues were most likely to affect businesses in the future.
Gender pay reporting (59 per cent) was of most concern, followed by flexible working (54 per cent), workplace employee data protection (51 per cent), and cyber security of employment systems (49 per cent).
As of November 2015, the gender pay gap was 19.2 per cent for full and part-time workers, according to the study. From April 2018, private and voluntary sector employers with at least 250 employers must publish data on their gender pay gap after the government introduced mandatory reporting.
The various statistics will include the difference in mean and median pay between men and women, the difference in paid bonuses, and the proportion of those who receive bonuses.
Non-compliance with the new measures could see a fine issued of up to £5,000 but the reputational damage to a firm could have greater ramifications.
Colin Leckey, a partner in Lewis Silkin's employment, reward, and immigration team, was unsurprised that gender pay reporting was a key concern for employers: 'We expect many large employers to be forced to report that they have significant headline gender pay gap figures.
'In turn, we expect this to prompt a significant increase in the volume of equal pay grievances and litigation pursued. Pressure may also build to change employers' pay practices.'
Leckey added that employers should be taking preventative measures to protect their company from potential claims.
'The existence of a large headline gap does not prove that an employer has a gender pay problem - that depends on like-for-like comparisons, which may tell a very different story. However, this won't necessarily be obvious to employees,' he said.
'For this reason, employers are well advised to take action sooner rather than later to establish what they are likely to need to report on and plan a risk mitigation strategy.'