Lorraine Heard: Time for the public sector to mind the gender pay gap

From next April, all employers with 250 or more employees will have to collect and publish gender pay gap data annually, including: their mean and median gender pay gap; their mean and median gender bonus pay gap; the proportions of male and females in each pay quartile; the proportions of male and female employees in receipt of a bonus; and a signed statement certifying the accuracy of the information.

For public sector employers listed in Schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017, the gender pay gap is based on the difference in the gross hourly rate of pay of male and female ā€˜full-pay employeesā€™ for the pay period that includes the snapshot date of 31 March, commencing 31 March 2017.

The bonus pay gap relates to bonus payments made to relevant employees in the 12-month period prior to the snapshot date.

Private sector and voluntary sector employers are caught by separate regulations that require publication of the same information by 4 April 2018, based on a snapshot date of 5 April.

While the public sector gears itself up for the changes, it is important to consider the following points.

Although publication is not required before 30 March 2018, the extraction of information should not be delayed becauseĀ determining which employees, and which elements of pay to take into account, for which periods, is fraught with complexity.

Additional information that assists with an analysis of any gender pay gap should also be extracted to assist with explaining the results of the calculations. Involving a legal adviser should be considered so that the results of any pay modelling can benefit from ā€˜legal professional privilegeā€™.

Organisations should also give careful consideration to the presentation of the results, including the content of any explanatory narrative.

Lorraine Heard is legal director at national law firm Bond Dickinson