With less than 3 months to go before the deadline for companies to publish their gender pay gap reports, reports show that more than 90% of those companies that are affected by the new legislation have yet to comply with the new rules.
This set of companies will includes charities and private companies with 250 or more employees, all of which must publish their gender pay gap calculations by the 4th April at the latest. For public sector organisations things are slightly different, as the deadline is even earlier on the 30th March. However, according to the latest data, just 502 companies out of an estimated 9,000 affected businesses have published their figures.
A new survey conducted by YouGov found that while 77% of businesses stated they had already published or were on track to publish their gender pay gap report, around one in ten said they would be unable to meet the deadline.
When asked about the survey carried out by YouGov, Kerri Constable, a senior consultant from RSM’s HR consulting service said:
‘The current level of compliance with the gender pay gap rules is very low but this is likely to ramp up considerably as we get closer to the deadline.
‘However, these figures reinforce our concerns that there are many companies struggling to complete their gender pay gap calculations, partly as a result of difficulties with manipulating the data from payroll systems.
‘Many employers are also using the remaining time to develop the right narrative to try and mitigate any reputational risk – both internal and external.
‘We also suspect that many firms are playing a wait and see game so they can see how competitors are presenting their own findings.
‘It would be wise for employers to remember that gender pay gap reporting is an annual requirement and every year progress will be expected. It’s therefore crucial for all affected companies to develop action plans to demonstrate their commitment to continually closing the gap.
‘Encouragingly, our latest survey of middle market businesses found that 78 per cent said that the reporting obligations would help reduce the size of the gender pay gap. However, they didn’t think this would happen soon – on average, respondents said it would take 32 years.’
While no financial penalty is currently in-place for those firms that fail to comply, once the deadline has passed the Equality and Human Rights Commission will have to issue court orders to those employers who do not report on time or who are deemed to be unlawful
In order to stop this from happening, the GEO (Government Equalities Office) and the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) suggest employers consider committing to at least priority actions to aid compliance in the next 12 months. Five example plans that companies could consider taking for positive action are:
- Offering better pay for all family leave
- Offering all employees flexible working conditions
- Removing recruitment prejudice
- Carrying out pay and reward reviews
- Supporting sponsorship, mentoring and apprenticeship schemes