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Research: Majority of UK employers in the dark about how to handle gender pay reporting

Few UK organisations are prepared to handle the requirements of the new gender pay reporting regulations coming into force in April 2017, according to a survey.


The regulations will require all employers with 250 or more employees to measure and report their gender pay gaps for the first time.


The survey by XpertHR found that only 6.2% of employers had any formal mechanisms in place to monitor their gender pay gap before the legislation was announced. And, with the deadline date fast approaching, most admitted they don’t know how or when they will publish the results of the exercise.


Although proposals to introduce mandatory reporting were announced in October 2015, over half (53.5%) of organisations had no monitoring in place before this time.


Just over a third claimed to have carried out “informal” monitoring in the past, while a handful (7.1%) did not know whether or not they had done so before the regulations were announced.


There was a different picture in the public sector, where 27.3% of organisations had undertaken formal monitoring and 45.5% had completed informal monitoring.


But in manufacturing and production, none of the respondents reported having formal monitoring in place before the new obligations were announced. However, this problem has been addressed as 90% of manufacturers said they have now completed a trial run or plan to do so before the requirement comes in.


When the research was conducted four months before the regulations were due to take effect, four out of ten organisations said that they had conducted a trial run of the calculations that will be required to comply with the law. Similar numbers (35.5%) plan to do so before April 2017.


However, just under one-fifth (18.8%) admitted that they will run their data for the first time when the regulations are in force – leaving them (and those who left their trial run until the last minute) no time to assess their position and draw up plans before having to take the figures to the board.


There was also disparity among employers about who would be responsible for data collection and reporting.


A third of organisations plan to give this task to their chief executive (34.1%) and almost a third said it would fall to their HR director (30.4%). Smaller numbers intend the finance director to do this (9.4%), while around one in four (23.2%) don’t yet know who will take on the responsibility.


Organisations were also uncertain about how to publish their gender reporting information. The regulations state that information must appear on a public website and remain there for three years. A minority of respondents have decided they will publish their gender pay gap data in their annual report (13%) or as a standalone publication (13.8%). However, two-thirds (65.2%) don’t know how they will publish their data.


Employers also must publish their first gender pay gap metrics by April 2018 at the latest – but one in four organisations (23.9%) intend to delay this as long as possible, publishing as close as they can to the deadline.


Although small numbers plan to complete the task as soon as possible after April 2017 (11.6%) or at the time of their annual report (7.2%), more than half of organisations (52.9%) admitted they don’t know when they will publish their figures.


When it comes to acting upon the data, employers are keen to be seen to do the right thing. The survey found that two thirds of respondents expect to commit to a plan to close any pay gap that is identified, while 27.5% said they were unsure what would happen. Only 5% said their organisation would not commit to closing the gender pay gap.

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