Employer Alert: Government publishes long-awaited gender pay gap reporting regulations
The Government has published the Employment Equality Act 1998 (Section 20A) (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2022, the long awaited regulations under the Gender Pay Gap (Information) Act 2021. Both the 2021 Act and the Regulations came into operation on 31 May 2022. As set out in our detailed briefing on the 2021 Act here, the Act requires the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to make regulations requiring organisations with over 250 employees (reducing to those with over 50 employees in 2025) to publish information relating to the pay of their employees for the purpose of showing whether there are differences in such pay referable to gender and, if so, the size of such differences.
Much of the information contained in the Regulations is contained in Government guidance and FAQ documents which were published in the last number of weeks. Our briefings on the Government’s recent guidance and FAQ documents are available here and here.
To comply with their gender pay gap information obligations, employers with over 250 employees are now required to choose a “snapshot date” in June 2022. Employers must then compile and publish the required gender pay gap information (detailed below) within six months from that snapshot date, in December 2022. The reference period for the calculations is the 12 months prior to, and including, the snapshot date.
The information to be published
The Regulations provide that employers with at least 250 employees must publish or make available information specified in the Regulations in relation to:
- the difference between the mean and median hourly remuneration of male employees and that of female employees expressed as a percentage of the mean and median hourly remuneration of male employees;
- the difference between the mean and median hourly remuneration of male part-time employees and that of female part-time employees expressed as a percentage of the mean and median hourly remuneration of part-time male employees;
- the difference between the mean and median hourly remuneration of male employees on temporary contracts and that of female employees on such contracts expressed as a percentage of the mean and median hourly remuneration of male employees on temporary contracts;
- the difference between the mean and median bonus remuneration of male employees and that of female employees expressed as a percentage of the mean and median bonus remuneration of male employees;
- the percentage of all male employees who were paid bonus remuneration and the percentage of all female employees who were paid such remuneration;
- the percentage of all male employees who received benefits in kind and the percentage of all females employees who received such benefits;
- the percentage of male and female employees who fall within each of:
- the lower remuneration quartile pay band;
- the lower middle remuneration quartile pay band;
- the upper middle remuneration quartile pay band; and
- the upper remuneration quartile pay band.
Timing and method of publishing required information
The information outlined above must be published or made available by the employer not later than six months after the chosen snapshot date.
Where the information shows differences in remuneration as between male and female employees, the employer is required to publish or make available a written statement setting out:
- in the employer’s opinion, the reasons for the differences and
- the measures (if any) being taken, or proposed to be taken, by the employer to eliminate or reduce the differences.
Employers must either publish the information on its website in a manner that is accessible to its employees and the public or, if the employer does not have a website, to make the information available in physical form for inspection during normal business hours by employees and the public at the employer’s registered office or principal place of business. The information must be published on the employer’s website or made available for inspection for at least three years.
The Regulations add more detail in relation to the general obligations contained in the 2021 Act. They provide definitions for allowances, benefits in kind, ordinary pay and working hours, amongst other things, which will provide much needed assistance to employers in complying with their gender pay gap reporting obligations. The Regulations also provide detailed information on how to determine the hourly remuneration, bonus remuneration and total working hours of an employee. These definitions closely mirror, but are not identical to, the definitions contained in the Government guidance. Therefore, we recommend that employers consult both the Government guidance documents and the Regulations to make sure they have comprehensive information to hand.
Preparing to publish gender pay gap data
Employers should now choose their chosen snapshot date in June 2022 and begin preparing the necessary gender pay gap calculations. Once the calculations have been compiled, employers will need to consider the reasons for the gap in their organisations and what actions the employers proposes to take to address the gap. This will require input from many aspects of the organisation, including human resources, finance, public relations and those at senior management level.
Please contact your usual Arthur Cox contact or any member of the Employment Group if we can be of assistance in helping you comply with your gender pay gap information reporting obligations.