The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have announced that they will begin enforcement against companies who have not complied with their obligations to meet the deadline for the gender pay gap report.

Today, the 5th April 2022, marks the deadline to meet The Gender Pay Gap Regulations, which require employers with 250 of more members of staff to report their gender pay gap.

Private sector employers were due to report by the 4th April.

However, there were early indications that this was a deadline that many employers were not going to meet.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission issued warning notices to 1,400 employers that failed to report by last year’s extended deadline.

The EHRC have announced that employees who miss today’s gender pay gap reporting deadline for a second year could dace “formal” enforcement action and may be named and shamed.

 

How has the pandemic impacted the gender pay gap?

Senior Employment Law Solicitor, Samantha Owen, has warned that the pandemic has “undone” a lot of the success businesses achieved on gender pay equality.

She says that the last two years have led to many women having to experience “lesser pay”.

She continues: “Businesses have faced, and are continuing to face, challenging times owing to the pandemic and these obligations and the threat of consequences may seem onerous. However, the gender pay gap reporting has an important purpose, which is to work toward achieving gender equality in the workplace.

“Indications are that all the good work done previously in narrowing the pay gap may have been undone by the pandemic, with women once again experiencing lesser pay. Engaging in the pay gap reporting process demonstrates that a company understands these challenges and that it is committed to gender equality.

“The Equality and Human Rights Commission have said that they will now begin enforcement against companies who have not complied with their obligations to report. The consequences could be unlimited fines after court action.

“It’s therefore really important that companies take this responsibility seriously and that reports are made as soon as possible if they haven’t been done already. For any companies who have failed to report in time, swift action to remedy this situation is recommended and legal advice should be taken.”

 

What exactly does the gender pay structure mean for employees?

Solicitor at DAS Law, Gillian Jenkins, offers important insights through explaining what workers’ rights are, and how to take action.

 

I suspect a colleague of different gender who does the same job as me is being paid more. How do I raise this with my employer?

You can either raise your concerns with your manager to see if they can address your concerns, or you can submit a grievance to have your concerns addressed in a more formal way. Your employer should have a formal grievance procedure in place, but if not, a grievance can still be raised in the form of a letter/email setting out your concerns and the information that you want to draw to your employer’s attention. 

 

Are employers legally obliged to pay the same salaries to all employees who are doing similar jobs?

Although the Equality Act 2010 broadly sets out that women and men should be paid the same for doing similar jobs, the law on equal pay is very complex.  If an employer can evidence that there are genuine material factors as to why employees are paid differently, the employer would be able to defend a claim for inequality in pay.  Such factors can include things such as, experience, qualifications or based on appraisal ratings for performance.  If you feel that you are being paid a lower salary due to your gender, it is advisable to seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

If I raise the issue with my employer, will it affect my employment and chances of promotion?

If you raise a complaint or grievance relating to equal pay, your employer cannot treat you less favourably for having raised this.  When you raise a complaint of equal pay you are arguing that you have been treated differently to an employee of a different sex.  To then punish you for raising this complaint by overlooking you for promotion for example, could be argued to be an act of victimisation, which is a type of discrimination.

 

If my employer refuses to acknowledge the situation, what steps should I take?

You have a right to raise a grievance through your company’s grievance procedure if you have any complaints in relation to your employer or employment situation.  If you wish to raise a grievance you should ask your employer for a copy of their grievance procedure. If they fail to deal with your grievance, you should take legal advice about the next steps, which potentially include issuing a claim against your employer at an Employment Tribunal.

 

Is my employer obliged to reveal details of the company’s gender pay structure?

As a result of government legislation passed in 2017, employers with 250 employees or more must report on their gender pay gap and gender bonus gap. They must then publish this information each year.  The information must be published on both your employer’s website and on a government website.

For more on Gender Pay Gap reporting, register for our upcoming live webinar: please click here to register