As we approach the end of the second gender pay gap reporting year, the publication of guidance from the Government Equalities Office, which seeks to help employers identify the reasons why gender pay gaps exist, and how to address their pay gaps, serves to remind us this is not simply a number exercise.
However, recent questions received from members of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals’ (CIPP) to its advisory service highlight that, at the coalface, numbers remain important; specifically, establishing which pay amounts should be included at the snapshot date.
Looking ahead to year three, the snapshot dates are 5 April 2019 for large private and voluntary sector employers and 31 March 2019 for public sector organisations.
By now, all employers should be finalising this process for year two, and indeed preparing to capture data for year three. The CIPP is hearing from members that the lessons learned from year one have fed into slightly adjusted processes for year two.
Maintaining good lines of communication with payroll software and report providers, where different, is critical to ensure that any changes that impact the results are acknowledged within the narrative, particularly where they have a significant impact.
Additionally, keeping up to date with guidance published by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) and on gov.uk is important to ensure that employers are reporting accurately. In our busy lives, it is all too easy to overlook updates or fail to prioritise reading them.
A number of employers are reporting higher gender pay gaps this year; it is important to understand these outcomes and explain them clearly in the narrative.
There is no mandatory requirement for employers to publish an action plan, but in having one, they can identify what steps they are taking to address the pay gaps that exist.
Samantha Mann is senior policy and research officer at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP)