Gender pay gap regulation enforcement to start in October

Enforcement action against employers failing to report their gender pay gap was suspended for the reporting year 2019/20 in March last year at the start of pandemic. It was previously reported that eligible private sector employers will need to produce a gender pay gap report by 4 April 2021 and eligible public sector employers by 30 March 2021, in accordance with standard reporting rules. However, this has now changed following updated guidance from the Government.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has announced announced that reporting must be done by 5 October 2021. This change will give those required to meet the regulations an additional six months to report their data before legal action begins, the Commission has explained.

Employers are encouraged to submit their data for 2020/2021 before October 2021 where possible. Chairwoman Baroness Kishwer Falkner has said that it is recognised that businesses are still facing challenging times which is why this change comes as an advantage for employers, in order to “strike the right balance between supporting businesses and enforcing these important regulations.” She went on to emphasise that taking action to reduce the gender pay gap must continue nonetheless. 

Reporting provides an opportunity for employers to demonstrate their commitment to gender equality, which will be more important than ever as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt.

Recap of current position

The Gender Pay Gap Regulations require employers with 250 or more members of staff to report their gender pay gap. Government guidance states that for employers’ 2021 reports, they should:

  • focus on the ‘snapshot’ date of 5 April 2020 in the private sector
  • focus on the ‘snapshot’ date of 31 March 2020 in the public sector
  • take furloughed staff into account when considering whether their business meets the requirement of having at least 250 staff on the snapshot date and is expected to produce a report
  • not include employees in the ‘reporting pool’ if they were not on full pay on the ‘snapshot’ date – meaning that any member of staff who was furloughed, and who did not have their pay topped up to 100%, can be discounted from the report for the purposes of hourly pay calculations
  • include furloughed staff in any calculations relating to bonus pay, regardless of whether their salary was “topped up” to 100% or not.

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