UK lags behind other countries on gender pay gap reporting

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The UK is lagging behind other countries when it comes to its gender pay gap reporting, according to a new study.

The report, Gender Pay Gap Reporting – A Comparative Analysis, prepared by the Fawcett Society and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, found that the UK is “unique in its light-touch approach” to asking employers what actions they’ll take to address any gender pay gaps.

While gender pay gap reporting has been suspended this year due to COVID-19, it was a legal requirement for employers with 250 or more employees to measure and report their gender pay gaps.

The report found that other countries have more robust systems in place. The UK requirement for only employers with at least 250 workers, is five times the median of 50 for countries analysed. This means that pay disparities in smaller companies are going undetected. In contrast, in Sweden, the threshold is just ten workers.

In Australia, relevant private sector employers are required to provide details on the availability and use of a range of different policies, including those relating to recruitment, retention, flexible working and employer-funded parental leave.

Meanwhile in France, failure by relevant private sector employers to gain an adequate score across a set of gender pay gap indicators means an action plan must be agreed either through negotiations with trade unions or consultation with employee representatives within an organisation.

Speaking about the research, Laura Jones, Research Associate at the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, said, “Without a requirement to produce a plan to close gender pay gaps, there is a risk that employers simply won’t take the action that is necessary.”

“Lowering the minimum employee threshold for gender pay gap reporting would also enable us to get a more complete picture of how women are managing through the current economic disruption, and other countries show that it can be done in a way that isn’t an extra burden for smaller employers.”

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, added, “Gender pay gap reporting has been a useful way to get employers to reflect on pay inequality in their organisations and to begin to address it.”

“But it needs to be reintroduced as soon as possible with key changes made to make the system more effective.”

“It is particularly important that we now move to ethnicity pay reporting alongside gender pay reporting.”

“This is long overdue.”

You can download the full report here.


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Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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