Sally Brett: Build on the basics to bridge the gap

Brett Sally-TUC-2015In July 2015, David Cameron pledged to end the gender pay gap in one generation by forcing large organisations to publish information about the difference between the average earnings of male and female workers.

The TUC (Trades Union Congress) wants the government to go further in its legislation, but there is already action employers can take to ensure their female staff are being paid fairly compared to males.

For example, organisations could publish their gender pay gap and make sure it is shared with all staff and unions. Giving the information voluntarily could lead to useful discussions, further investigation and action to close pay gaps.

As well as an overall gender pay gap figure, bosses could also publish information about the number of men and women in the workforce, the part-time pay penalty, pay gaps within grades or job roles, and pay gaps in bonuses and other pay.

Tesco is one of the few businesses that has voluntarily published its gender pay gap, which is a great start. But a figure on its own lacks meaning and explanation, so organisations could provide a supporting narrative that shows how the gender pay gap is calculated and what action is planned to narrow it.

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Bosses can carry out regular full equal-pay audits, identifying where men and women are doing equal work, comparing their pay and closing any gaps that cannot be justified. Also, equal-pay questionnaires would allow staff to ask their employer for information about their pay and that of colleagues.

Sally Brett is a senior equality officer at the Trades Union Congress (TUC)