Next week’s 4 April gender pay gap deadline has been suspended due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Government Equalities Office (GEO) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) issued a joint statement on 24th March to suspend enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines for this reporting year (2019/20). There is now no expectation on employers in the private sector to report their data by 4 April 2020. However, if employers choose to do so, GEO has said that it can provide support where required. Ordinarily, the EHRC would have the power to investigate employers that fail to report their gender pay gap information. Non-compliant employers could also face an unlimited fine after court action.
Suspension provides welcome relief to employers
Make UK asked the Government to consider a suspension of the deadline in light of the considerable pressure that its members are currently facing. While some employers have already taken steps over the past year to calculate their gender pay data, the suspension will come as welcome relief to those who have yet to produce their figures. According to the joint statement, at the time of publication, almost three quarters of expected reporters had yet to publish their gender pay gap data.
Next year’s reports
Producing next year’s gender pay gap reports is, understandably, low on the current list of HR professionals’ priorities. However, it will be interesting to note if any further relaxation in gender pay requirements will be extended to the next reporting year 2020/21. Given the number of employees who will be on leave and reduced pay – whether sick leave, furlough leave or other types of leave - during the relevant pay period (April 2020), the data is unlikely to produce an accurate assessment of many employers’ gender pay gap.