UK companies will have to disclose the gender pay gap. It is not enough

Research by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership and the Fawcett Society at King’s College London concludes that the UK’s imperative Gender Pay Gap Reporting, which went into effect in 2017, “has no teeth” and is less effective than other global reporting systems, which require a commitment to change.

Researchers analyzed pay gap reporting systems in six countries – the UK, Australia, France, Spain, Sweden and South Africa – and ranked the UK and Australian systems joint last for lack of effectiveness.

They assessed each country’s gender pay gap reporting policies by scoring them against 11 indicators, including accountability, transparency and enforcement.

The UK was jointly ranked last because the government does not mandate that employers take action to address any reported pay gaps, while Australia was jointly ranked bottom because The report’s authors said Thursday that the company’s data is anonymized once it is submitted, risking a lack of accountability.

Spain and France were in first and second place respectively because laws in those countries meant companies could face “heavy penalties” for failing to address gender inequality. South Africa was third and Sweden fourth.

The report praises the high compliance of gender pay gap reporting in the UK, but calls on the government to is needed Asked employers to take “remedial measures” to close the gender pay gap, rather than just “monitoring” the figures. Without the need for action, the system “has no teeth,” the authors said.

What needs to be done?

The report urges the government to make it a legal obligation for companies to publish gap-reducing “action plans” and to fine those who do not report gender pay gap data.

It also states that the gender pay gap reporting limit should be reduced from 250 employees to 50 companies to capture more workplaces.

Rosie Campbell, director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, told CNN Business that the UK gender pay gap was in danger of getting worse.

“You can put your gender pay gap in there, and nothing happens,” Campbell said. “While many others [reporting] systems around the world [ask for] They are doing things to help eliminate the gender pay gap around parental leave.”

How the coronavirus widens the gender pay gap

According to the UK Government Equality Office, between 2017/18 and 2018/19, the gender pay gap as reported by UK employers narrowed by almost half. However, by that measure, half either remained the same or widened, the report authors warned.

Official figures also indicate that men continue to be paid more.

national statistics office (ONS) estimates that in 2020 – the latest data available – the gender pay gap in the UK was 15.5%, down slightly from 17.4% in 2019.

Fawcett Society’s interim chief executive Felicia Willow said in a statement that more action was needed.

“Gender equality is good for business, good for our economy, and good for employees. Unfortunately, this report clearly shows how far the UK lags behind comparable countries in bridging its gender pay gap. Reporting without action is not enough.”

The Government Equality Office said in a statement to CNN Business: “The gender pay gap reporting rules have helped motivate employers and focus on improving equality in the workplace. There has been a lot of positive work by employers since the plan was launched. and ONS data show the gender pay gap is at a record low.”


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