10th November 2016 was Equal Pay day; a day that symbolises the point of the year at which women in the UK effectively start working for free when compared with men, some 51 days before the end of the year. Whilst this may seem shocking, it reflects the 13.9% gap that exists between men and women’s full time average wages in the UK.

Whilst the gap is slowly decreasing, the Fawcett Society estimates that at current rates it will take another 62 years to close the gap. So what can you do about it?

As this feature highlights, some women have opted for direct action walking out of work early to reflect the portion of the day for which they do not get paid when compared with their male counterparts. Others have used social media platforms to get behind Equal Pay Day and promote its message. So what is the government doing about this issue?

Tackling the gender pay gap is seemingly high on the government’s agenda with mandatory gender pay gap reporting taking centre stage. With effect from 4th April 2018 businesses with 250 or more employees will be required to publish the following information on their website:

•Mean pay gap between male and female employees

•Median pay gap between male and female employees

•Details of the number of men and women working across salary quartiles

•Mean bonus pay gap between male and female employees

The government hopes gender pay reports will help employers to identify and ultimately address any pay gaps that may exist within their businesses. Only time will tell how effective this approach will prove to be particularly given the fact that at this stage there are no specific sanctions for non-compliance, with the government preferring to rely on the embarrassment factor to encourage employers to comply.

Whilst April 2018 may seem a long way off employers need to act now to ensure they are ready for the introduction of gender pay gap reports. We can help you prepare by conducting a gender pay review now to identify any gender pay gaps that exist and work with you to identify any steps you can take to reduce any gap. We can also help produce the formal report providing suitable commentary to explain any gender pay gaps that may exist.

If you would like more information on your gender pay reporting obligations please contact a member of our Employment Team.