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Gender pay gap reporting and the public sector
15 September 2016

A recent report published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has confirmed that the average hourly wages of female employees are currently 18% lower than men’s, down from 23% in 2003 and 28% in 1993. This will come as a stark reminder for employers of the gender pay gap reporting requirements, set out in the government’s draft regulations from February of this year.

When gender pay gap reporting was first proposed, the final regulations were set to come into force in October 2016. Following a turbulent political year and a detailed consultation, the government has now confirmed that the legislation itself may not be ready until April 2017.

Employers in the private and voluntary sectors will have to report on the differences in pay between male and female employees if they have at least 250 UK based employees. Employers will have to report annually on the ‘mean gender pay gap’ and the ‘median gender pay gap’ of their organisation, the ‘gender bonus gap’, and the number of male and female employees working across salary quartiles.

The Latest Consultation Paper

In the meantime, on 18 August 2016, the Government published a consultation paper on the reporting regime for large employers in the public sector. The Government is proposing to introduce the same reporting requirements for a range of public sector employers during 2016/17. This will bring equivalent duties in for non-devolved public authorities, by adjusting the public sector specific equality duties.

 The paper also confirms:

  • The definition of ‘employee’ is to be given the wider meaning, which will include workers, apprentices and even some contractors;
  • The correct way to calculate salary quartile information;
  • The date on which all employers will be required to assess the pay of their workforce has been moved forward from 30 April to 5 April, which was previously provided for in the draft regulations; and
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission will be able to take enforcement action against public bodies who fail to comply with their reporting obligations, unlike the lesser repercussion faced by private and voluntary sectors of reputational damage.

To discuss how the gender pay gap requirements affect your business please speak to our Employment team on 0118 952 7284.


Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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