Equality and Human Rights Commission publishes final gender pay gap enforcement action


The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published its final report detailing the procedures for enforcement action relating to the gender pay gap reporting regulations.

Its Closing the gap: enforcing the gender pay gap regulations report outlines the different stages of legal action that all non-compliant employers will face after the gender pay gap reporting deadline has expired. The deadline is set at 4 April for private sector organisations and charities and 30 March for public sector organisations.

Initially, the Commission will look to resolve non-compliance by writing to employers who have failed to comply with the gender pay gap reporting regulations. This will include employers who have submitted data that has not been calculated in accordance with the regulations as well as employers who have failed to publish any data at all.

The Commission will send enforcement letters on 9 April and employers will then have 28 days to comply before a formal investigation takes place and an unlawful act notice is issued. Employers who continue to fail to comply with the gender pay gap reporting regulations will ultimately receive an unlimited fine that is decided by the courts.

For 2018-2019, the Commission aims to initiate enforcement action against all employers who have not reported their pay gap data.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive officer at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “Employers with 250 or more staff still have time to report their gender pay gap. The clock is ticking and with just 10 days to go, those who haven’t reported really are entering the last chance saloon. This is not optional; it is the law and we will be full enforcing against all [organisations] that do not report.

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“This legislation is in place to bring about better gender equality in the workplace and any employer not complying needs to ask themselves tough questions, re-think their priorities, be prepared for serious reputational damage, and be ready to face a very unhappy workforce.”

Jemima Olchawski, head of policy and insight at the Fawcett Society, added: “The gender pay gap represents a productivity gap. It’s bad for women who lose out on potential earnings and career opportunities but also bad for businesses who are failing to properly recruit, promote and reward women. Pay gap reporting is an opportunity to look at the data, understand the cause and nature of the gap in an organisation and develop a plan to close it.”