The number of employers reporting their gender pay gap figures is significantly down on previous years, after the government extended the deadline for the 2020/21 reporting year to October.
As announced earlier this year, employers have been given another six months to report their data for their 2020 snapshot date. All organisations have until 5 October 2021 to publish their data.
Gender pay gap reporting
The regulations apply to public and private sector employers with 250 or more staff.
As the usual annual deadlines of 30 March for public sector employers and 4 April for private sector firms passed, the number of organisations publishing their data remained low compared with previous years.
At the time of publication some 2,475 organisations had submitted their reports for the 2020/21 reporting year to the government’s website, compared with 10,841 who had published their data for the 2018/19 reporting year.
Only 6,154 published their gender pay gap reports for the 2019/20 reporting year, after enforcement of the regulations was suspended last year due to the pandemic.
Employers do not have to report their gender pay gap information for the 2019/20 year, unless they want to voluntarily, and will not be expected to do so at a later date.
Initial analysis of the gender pay gap reports by the CIPD found that the median pay gap in 2020 was 12.8% – the same as it was in 2018.
Charles Cotton, the CIPD’s senior reward and performance adviser said: “We are now into our fifth year of gender pay gap reporting and there has been markedly little change in the figures. This is to be expected, however, given improvements can’t be made overnight and some of the measures employers have taken to close their gender pay gap may well initially result in it widening.
“However, we are more concerned by the sharp drop in employers who have so far chosen to report their figures this year. While this is not that surprising given enforcement action has been delayed by six months, it does raise questions about the commitment of some employers to tackling their gender pay gap.
“Reporting is an integral part of an organisation’s fairness strategy and without it employers lack a valuable tool to assess the fairness of how they recruit, manage, develop and reward their people. We would therefore urge those that have not yet filed their figures for 2020 to do so now, rather than waiting until October.”
Announcing the deadline extension earlier this year, the Equality and Human Rights Commission – which is responsible for the enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting regulations – said starting its legal process in October “strikes the right balance” between supporting organisations through the pandemic and enforcing the law.
However, organisations including the CBI and the Fawcett Society have said the pandemic must not be used as an excuse to “turn back the clock” on the progress already made by organisations.
Fawcett Society chief executive Felicia Willow said: “What we’ve seen since  is the pandemic policy response disproportionately impacting women, particularly at work. We know more women have been furloughed, have lost their jobs, have had their hours cut, and have had greater disruption due to home schooling than men. And, we know that the impact on disabled women, black women, and other minority groups has been even worse.”