Employers failing to publish gender pay cap could face ‘unlimited’ fines

Both private and public bodies have been instructed to publish their gender pay cap for the first time, with a deadline of 4 April 2018 set. Those who do not meet the deadline could face legal action and an “unlimited fine” set by the courts, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has said.

All companies with more than 250 employees must publish the data. However, fewer than 4,000 out of 9,000 have done so, with the EHRC saying that they are now in a “last chance saloon”. Public bodies face an earlier deadline of 30 March 2018 and the EHRC said it will instigate enforcement on 9 April 2018.

Commenting on the instruction, EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “The clock is ticking and with just 10 days to go, those who haven't reported really are entering the last chance saloon.”

Hilsenrath warned that those companies who do not comply should “be prepared for serious reputational damage” and “a very unhappy workforce”.

However, many MP’s have questioned the effectiveness of highlighting the disparities, whilst the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee is launching an inquiry next month into the issue of the gender pay gap, executive pay and gender pay gaps within the private sector.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee chair Rachel Reeves commented: “Transparency on gender pay is only the beginning. We need to examine why these pay gaps persist, why within the same sector there may be companies with wildly differing pay-gaps, and what remedies are needed to tackle them."

Furthermore, the Fawcett Society stated that employers are also losing out as a result of the pay gap, as 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," said Fawcett Society head of policy and insight Jemima Olchawski.

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