Delaying the 2020/21 GPG reporting for six months (in addition to the total suspension last year) is an understandable move to alleviate some pressure on businesses, especially considering what they have had to contend with over the last year, but it isn’t helpful in the long term – for either the employer or employees.
The aim of reducing the GPG is not only a matter of fairness and equality; the importance an employer places on these elements together with the action it is taking to reduce any GPG are likely to be things that employees consider when deciding where to work and whether to stay with an employer. The job market will be certainly be difficult for many in the short to medium term but employers shouldn’t take this for granted. Employers should take steps to reduce their GPG or, at the very least, have a clear plan that they are actively working on to reduce the GPG as swiftly as possible if they want to attract and retain the best talent.
Employers should also bear in mind that there is likely to be a data gap in their reported GPG. If an employer furloughed employees (without topping up their pay to full pay), or if any were off sick or self-isolating and receiving reduced pay as at the April snapshot date, the employer has to omit such individuals from their pay-gap calculations. The value of the GPG data produced is therefore likely to be limited and employers will need to look behind their reported GPG to the real pay-gap and take steps to close that.
This year more than ever it was also important for employers to publish an accompanying narrative and action plan alongside their data, said McCartney: “The pandemic will have had an impact on their figures. They will need to understand and explain this, and set out how they plan to improve gender equality and tackle pay gaps where they exist.”