The government sanction of an amendment to the to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment to “activate” section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 could have a big impact on larger companies, according to national law firm Bond Dickinson.

The amendment means that private sector employers with 250 or more members of staff will be required to publish gender pay gap information, revealing the differences in the pay of male and female employees in their organisation.

Lorraine Heard, Employment Legal Director at law firm Bond Dickinson, said:

“A late amendment to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will have a big effect on big business.

“New regulations to activate section 78 of the Equality Act are to be introduced within 12 months of the Bill becoming law, as a result of the Conservatives giving in to pressure from Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs to force large employers to do more to eliminate the gender pay gap, which currently stands at 9.4 percent for full time employees and almost 40 percent for part timers.”

Non-compliance will amount to an offence leading to the imposition of a fine of up to £5,000 and/or enforcement action to ensure compliance. The changes will be introduced no later than 12 months after the passing of the Act.