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15 Feb 2016

Companies will have to reveal gender pay gap figures

New plans revealed earlier this week will see companies with more than 250 employees being forced to publish their gender pay gap figures, BBC News reports.

As part of the government´s efforts to tackle the ongoing gender pay gap, women and equalities minister Nicky Morgan announced that private companies and voluntary organisations would have to begin calculating their pay gap from April 2017 – a year before the first set of results are due to be published.

According to the most recent numbers, female workers in the UK are still paid an average 20% less than their male counterparts.

But under the new legislation, some 8,000 employers will have to share their gender pay gap on their websites. In addition to this, the figures will have to be reported every year and personally signed off by senior-level executives.

It is hoped that this will hold people accountable for the issue of unfair pay, and, as Nicky Morgan explains, ensure that there is “nowhere for gender inequality to hide.”

Morgan is also calling on women to “use their position as employees and consumers to demand more from businesses, ensuring their talents are given the recognition and reward they deserve,” she stated.

While some fear that gender pay gap tables could create a “name-and-shame” culture, Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Chartered Business Institute (CBI), urges that other factors – such as sectoral differences and the mix of full- and part-time workers – will also need to be taken into account.

“The government should consult closely with business to ensure that this new legislation helps close the gender pay gap, rather than ending up as a box-ticking exercise,” she advised.

Others feel that the measures don´t go far enough. Frances O´Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), says the body was “disappointed that firms won´t have to publish their gender pay gap figures until 2018”; while shadow minister for women and equality, Kate Green, argued that “at this rate, it will be another 47 years until the gap is closed.”

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