Carol Verner: Was the Government right to delay gender pay gap reporting for six months?

Although the Government has delayed the enforcement of the Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations until October 2021, it is important for organisations to not stop working on closing their gender pay gap. Reports are of little value if not understood and followed by proactive actions.

At Kettering General Hospital, we use high-quality data to understand the key drivers of our gender pay gap and the most effective actions to take to address these. These are monitored and measured to improve recruitment and to ensure the progression of women in the Trust, and reduce the gender pay gap.

Our equality goals are realistic, clear and their progress is tracked. There are three main areas where this approach is being implemented. One is with the launch of the hospital’s first ever gender equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) network in March 2021 to ensure all key needs for all genders are addressed.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees at the hospital are female so this is essential for our inclusion journey. The network consists of a diverse team with three co-chairs who are in very senior roles, and who act as role models. The safe space provided by the network will also help identify if there are any other drivers causing gender pay gaps that the reports do not show.

Another focus of ours is working with the recruitment team to ensure we have EDI team and inclusive champions involved in monitoring the talent management processes including recruitment, promotions, and diversity within the organisation. This can help reduce biased decisions in recruitment and promotion.

Finally, we are encouraging flexible working and shared parental leave. In most cases it is women who opt to work flexibly, but this can widen the gender pay gap. We also encourage men to work flexibly, so that it is not seen as only a female benefit, as well as senior leaders so they can champion flexible working.

The gender pay gap tends to widen drastically after women have had children, so we encourage men and women to share childcare more equally too.

Carol Verner is interim head of equality diversity and inclusion/ESR systems project manager at Kettering General Hospital