Businesses are being warned not to leave gender pay gap audits to the last minute, to avoid public ‘naming and shaming’ in the media.
There are more than 10 months until the deadline for employers with 250+ employees to publish their gender pay gap figures, and many employers are looking to start looking at the numbers later this year or early next year.
However, employment law specialists at Menzies Law in Bristol are warning employers not to leave it late to pull together their figures – doing so could help avoid unwanted media criticism.
“Many businesses want to brush gender pay gap publishing under the carpet or leave it until the last minute,” said Luke Menzies, solicitor and barrister and Director at Menzies Law.
“If you take the time to do calculate your gender pay gap now, and you find you have a significant gap – which unfortunately is highly likely – then you have a chance to start putting things right immediately. If you face any criticism in the media when the figures are published, then you can quickly point to your new systems and policies and the improvements you have already made. That could be important in reputational terms.”
“It will also give you the chance to put together communications plans in anticipation of any negative publicity. By leaving it late, businesses and organisations are leaving themselves wide open to potential media naming and shaming and public criticism – some of which we have seen already.”
Over the last few months there have been media reports of employers with large gender pay gaps. Some of the first victims of this naming and shaming were various ‘big name’ universities in the UK, who were listed by The Times and named and shamed across the national and regional press.
The average median gender pay gap in the UK is 18.1% and most employers are likely to have a gap of at least 10% when they audit, if not into the teens or twenties. The average pay gap between full-time annual salaries for men and women at a national level is currently £5,732 p.a. in favour of men.
Mr Menzies added:
“The Gender Pay Gap legislation and publishing deadline have been widely publicised and large employers are fully aware. However, we know from talking to them that many – particularly in the private sector – are not keen to start auditing yet. Those who we have worked with, that have audited early, have found a range of surprising issues within their organisation. But we have been spending time putting new processes in place to improve their pay gaps. Many are surprisingly simple fixes, such as ensuring equal access to bonuses and awards, which can make a big difference without the need to start changing contractual terms or simply raising women’s pay. By April 2018, they’ll be in a much stronger position.”
Menzies Law offers a unique and innovative Gender Pay Gap Audit & Advice service, which brings together auditing support to calculate an organisation’s GPG figure, as well as the legal advice to deal with the risks and impact of this change on the organisation. On top of all this, they can then provide the specialist pay consultancy to improve an employer’s pay structure to eventually reduce their GPG down towards zero.
For more information visit: https://www.menzieslaw.co.uk/what-we-do/gender-pay-gap/