Business Law: Mind the gender pay gap, advises Alexandra Chisnall of Ellisons

Alexandra Chisnall of Ellisons Solicitors.

Alexandra Chisnall of Ellisons Solicitors. - Credit: Archant

In a bid to promote a culture of transparency in the workplace, and to encourage organisations to tackle the underlying causes of the gender pay gap, regulations came into force last year requiring organisations in Great Britain with 250 or more employees to publish data on the pay of their male and female employees.

By no later than March 30 and April 4, 2018, respectively ? and annually thereafter – public sector organisations and private and voluntary sector organisations are required to publish certain prescribed gender pay gap data on the organisation’s own website as well as the designated government website, at

Whilst the regulations do not provide for any civil or criminal sanctions in the event of non-compliance, the main consequence for organisations which fail to comply is the potential risk of being “named and shamed” and the adverse publicity and reputational damage that may follow.

Non-compliance may also lead to enforcement action by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. Employees are also vulnerable to Equal Pay claims and/or complaints of sex discrimination or grievances relating to the same, brought by disgruntled or aggrieved employees.

Organisations that identify a gender pay gap are encouraged to explore the underlying causes of the disparity and take active steps to close the gap.

Guidance published by the Government Equalities Office in December 2017 suggests that organisations should considering reviewing and updating their policies and practices, particularly those concerning family leave, and provide management with appropriate training on the provisions of the Equality Act 2010. Organisations which do not have to report may also, of course, have a pay gap issue and be vulnerable to Equal Pay and discrimination claims.

Further guidance on the reporting requirements and what any organisation can do to tackle the gender pay gap, can be found on the ACAS and the Government Equalities Office websites.

•Alexandra Chisnall is a lawyer at the Ipswich office of Ellisons Solicitors. If you would like assistance about this or any other employment issues then please email or call 01473 556900.

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