Public sector gets draft gender pay gap reporting law

The gender pay gap  reporting obligations will apply to a variety of public-sector employers, including police forces. Photo: Simon Webster/REX/Shutterstock.
The gender pay gap reporting obligations will apply to a variety of public-sector employers, including police forces. Photo: Simon Webster/REX/Shutterstock.

The draft Regulations that will require public-sector employers in England to report on their gender pay gap have been published.

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 will come into force on 31 March 2017.

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The requirements for the public sector largely mirror those for the private sector, which are being introduced via the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017.

A key difference between the Regulations is that the public-sector requirements are being introduced as part of the existing public-sector equality duty, rather than as a standalone requirement.

The new legislation requires public authorities specified in the Regulations, if they have at least 250 employees, to publish various figures that demonstrate their gender pay gap.

The annual “snapshot” date on which the pay information is collected is 31 March for public-sector employers, rather than the snapshot date of 5 April for private-sector employers.

Employers have 12 months from the snapshot date in which to publish the pay information. This means that public-sector employers must publish their first figures by 30 March 2018.

The information will have to be published on the public authority’s website and provided on a “digital portal” that the Government is planning to launch.

However, unlike the Regulations for the private sector, the public-sector Regulations do not include a requirement for the information to be accompanied by a statement from a senior member of the organisation confirming that the information is accurate.

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XpertHR content director Mark Crail said: “The intention is clearly to make the public-sector reporting requirement as similar as possible to that of the private sector.

“The definitions of a ‘relevant employee’ and the precise calculations, for example, are identical.

“However, the public sector already has very specific duties on equality, and the Regulations have to reflect that. So there are what appear to be minor differences at present but which may prove to be more significant in practice.”

The public-sector Regulations will apply only to public bodies in England, and certain cross-border authorities and non-devolved authorities operating across Great Britain.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments will introduce corresponding public-sector legislation covering devolved authorities in Scotland and Wales.

The Regulations for both the public and private sectors now require parliamentary approval.

Update: consultation response on public-sector gender pay gap reporting

On Tuesday 24 January 2017, the Government published its response to the consultation on gender pay gap reporting for public-sector employers. The consultation, which ran from 18 August to 30 September 2016, was used to inform the drafting of the public-sector Regulations.

 

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