Companies fear that publication rules will lead to pay claims
Requirements for firms to publish the gender pay gap is concerning employers, with 70% believing that employees would question the reason for their rate of pay and 42% thinking that formal Employment Tribunal claims would be pursued, according to new research conducted by law firm Bond Dickinson LLP.
The concerns are expressed despite 79% of respondents saying that they are not concerned that any differences in pay between male and female employees could be for gender-related reasons. Only 16% of employers expressed fears that their current pay differences may be due to gender.
The new regulations are aimed at eliminating the gender pay gap, which shows that on average men are currently paid 19.1% more than women.
Currently, the government is examining three options for pay gap reporting: publication of the overall gender pay gap figure; details broken down by full- and part-time employees; and details broken down by grade or job type.
Many organisations are concerned that publishing an average cross-organisation figure would be too simplistic, and more complex reporting is required. Only four in ten employers believed that their employees on the same grade were doing comparable jobs.
There is also concern around the understanding of the new regulations, while a significant number of employers commented that they would need help in calculating their gender pay gap, analysing the significance of the result and addressing the issues identified.
Lisa Robertson, managing associate, Bond Dickinson LLP, commented on the research: “With two-thirds of respondents paying according to a grading system that depends on job evaluation, the question of whether gender pay gap figures should be broken down by grade or job is highly relevant. But if employees on the same grade aren’t doing comparable jobs then calculating the gender pay gap by grade may not just be meaningless, but potentially also misleading.”
“It remains to be seen what employers will be required to publish. What is clear is that each organisation’s gender pay gap will be subject to scrutiny and employers will have to take steps either to address it, or explain it. Employers will be put to a lot of work in analysing and publishing gender pay gap information which is meaningful in the context of their particular organisation, and then deal with the potential fall-out. Whatever the specific requirements, it is worth being proactive; the ostrich approach won’t be a viable option.”
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