UK companies have been told they will have to submit a gender pay report for 2020/2021, but will be granted a six-month reprieve before any enforcement action is taken against them for late submissions.
Last year, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) took the unprecedented step of suspending enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines entirely for the 2019/2020 reporting year.
This year, reporting will go ahead, but employers now have until 5 October 2021 to report their gender pay gap information for the 2020/2021 reporting year (which uses a snapshot date of 31 March 2020 and 5 April 2020). EHRC is encouraging employers to report ahead of the usual deadlines (30 March 2021 and 4 April 2021) wherever possible, but no enforcement action will be taken providing they report by 5 October 2021.
The gender pay gap is the difference between the average (mean or median) earnings of men and women across a workforce. Employers with 250 or more employees are required to publish annual information relating to pay, including any differences in average hourly pay between male and female employees. In 2019, pay gap reporting revealed eight out of 10 British companies paid men more than women.
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to impact the figures reported for 2020/2021. For example, employers will need to exclude the pay of employees who were absent on 5 April for certain reasons relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Any employee who was furloughed on reduced pay (employers should still include the pay of any employee whose furlough pay was topped up to their normal pay rate);
- Any employee receiving statutory sick pay due to contracting COVID-19 or because they were self-isolating;
- Any working parents taking unpaid parental leave in order to care for children as a result of school closures.
As a result, for many employers, a substantially larger proportion of their workforce will be excluded from this year’s gender pay gap reporting than in previous years. The government has advised that companies may wish to accompany their report with a narrative, explaining the impact of the pandemic on their figures.
More information on the six-month suspension of regulation can be found on the government website here. Or, get in touch with RHI today, and we will be happy to guide you through your reporting obligations. Our proprietary gender pay reporting software GapHub contains effective, easy-to-use tools that provide a full audit trail and benchmarking analytics, so you can compare your position to the competition and get on top of your reporting obligations for 2021.