UK: Are You Ready For Gender Pay Gap Reporting? Employment, Labour & Equalities Update (Video)

Siobhan Bishop and Louise Clifford, a director in our Employment, Labour & Equalities team, discuss the gender pay gap and the reporting obligations that organisations will shortly face.


Siobhan Bishop: I'm Siobhan Bishop and I am talking today with Louise Clifford, a director in our Employment, Labour & Equalities team, about the gender pay gap and the reporting obligations that organisations will shortly face.

So Louise, first of all, what is the rationale behind the gender pay gap reporting?

Well, it's all part of the Government's wider initiative to improve pay transparency and the reason for that is that the Government has committed to eliminate the gender pay gap within a generation.

Louise Clifford: Now, the gender pay gap as things stand is currently 19.2%, and that is despite having equal pay litigation since the 1970s. So, what the Government has been trying to do is to look at different ways in which we can improve pay transparency to try to start to erode that gender pay gap.

Now we have tried various ways in recent years, this is the latest initiative. In a sense what it is seeking to do is to compel employers to report details of their gender pay gap as a way of essentially making sure that they focus more on their gender pay information and what they can do to address any disparities.

Siobhan: Thanks Louise, so where are we up to with the proposed legislation?

Louise: Well, following a consultation last summer, we finally got draft regulations in February this year. There followed a period of consultation which ended in mid-March. So we are now essentially waiting for the revised regulations which will then, in theory at least, be introduced in October this year. The Government hasn't yet stated when specifically the revised regulations will be available, but we are expecting some time over the summer.

Siobhan: So, based on the draft regulations that we've got now, what are the key obligations that employers are going to face?

Louise: Okay, well the first point to make is that the regulations only apply to large employers, those with 250 or more employees and only at the moment to employers in the voluntary or private sector. For those employers that are covered, the obligations essentially break down into three main categories.

  1. So first of all, employers have to publish details of the average difference in pay between male and female employees in a relevant pay period.
  2. Secondly, they have to publish information on the number of male and female employees in each quartile pay band, taking into account the employer's overall pay distribution.
  3. The third area is bonuses, and there are two aspects to that. So first of all, again, employers have to look at the difference in average pay, bonus pay in this case, between male and female employees, and secondly, they have to look at the proportion of male and female employees that are actually receiving a bonus in any given pay period.

Now, we're expecting that the first snapshot period for collecting data will be April 2017 and employers will then have until April 2018 to publish those first reports.

Siobhan: That's right, bonuses is going to be a really tricky area, why is that?

Louise: There are a number of things. I think there are three that I will probably focus on for today.

The first is timing, for the pay information generally needs to be reported, the critical period is going to be April in each year. Essentially, the employer is required to take a snapshot of the pay data at that particular point in time for the purposes of producing the report that then needs to be delivered by April in the following year. With bonuses, the situation is slightly different, you need to look at bonuses earned and paid in the 12 months preceding April in each year.

So, for the first reports, essentially the clock has already started running in terms of the bonuses that need to be captured in the report.

The second point I'd make is that, as I've said, the regulations currently provide for bonuses that are received and earned in a particular year to be reported. Now, of course, many bonus schemes operate on the basis that they are earned in one year and then received in the next. So there's going to be an issue there for employers to work out what exactly they do need to report on and how they deal with the potential ambiguities with the regulations as they currently stand.

The third point about bonuses is that often you'll find that employers have schemes that only apply to a very small number of employees, maybe a senior executive group within an organisation, so what you might find is that, in circumstances where you're reporting on information for that type of group, if you are demonstrating the gender pay gap in terms of bonus pay, that might start to throw up some questions which could lead to equal pay risk in a way that the more generic date about pay might not.

Siobhan: Now, there aren't any penalties for non-compliance with this legislation, so what incentive will employers have to comply?

Louise: That's right Siobhan, there are no civil or criminal penalties for failing to comply, but what we need to remember is that the requirement is to not only publish the information on the employer's own website but to publish it on a central Government website. So employers could be conspicuous by their absence from that website, if you like, and there has been talk about league tables. So, there is a reputational concern here for employers who may decide not to report on the basis of the lack of penalties.

I think the other thing to remember is that the Government made the case in its consultation document that, you know, having a good story to tell in terms of your gender pay gap actually can be positive for employers and can be a good aid in terms of recruitment and retention of staff and, conversely, obviously employers who choose to shy away from the problem and not report could find that, you know, that then has an impact on retention and recruitment issues.

Siobhan: There's lots of potential issues to think about here and employers do have some time to prepare. So, what steps should they be taking now?

Louise: Well, I think the first thing is to work out whether you are going to actually be covered by the regulations at all. Are you going to be a large enough employer and that, as I have said, is going to depend on the definition of relevant employee – which may well change with the revised regulations. That's step one.

The next step, obviously, is to make sure you have the relevant systems in place to be able to collate the data and do the relevant number crunching.

Thirdly, I think bonuses is an important area to focus on. We've talked about some of the difficulties with bonuses and, of course, that there is time there in the run up to April 2017 to potentially address any issues and get your house in order in terms of bonuses.

I think the final thing to think about is, you know, trying to assess what those gender pay gap figures are going to look like for your organisation. Potentially considering some kind of audit around that, but bearing in mind that any results from that may be disclosable in any future equal pay litigation.

The other thing employers need to be aware of is that there will be an opportunity with the Government website to actually publish a narrative to give some context to the results. So, if employers have an explanation for why their gender pay gap is as it is, that is not a discriminatory reason, then they may want to be preparing that narrative in advance, so that they have a story to tell. They may also be wanting to work on, you know, policies and procedures around that, which show how they are going to address gender pay gap issues in the future.

The final thing to say is that when you take your snapshot of data in April 2017 and you look at the bonus data in the preceding 12 months, you then need to collate that data and report – by the latest – April 2018.

So, there is some time there and some flexibility for employers to choose when, in that 12 month period, they actually want to report and there may be tactical, strategic reasons that they want to report at a certain time of year rather than another, so its worth giving some consideration to that.

Siobhan: Thank you very much Louise.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
19 Sep 2019, Seminar, Birmingham, UK

Providing GCs, Heads of Legal and senior in-house lawyers with timely, topical and practical legal advice on a variety of topics.

26 Sep 2019, Seminar, London, UK

Providing GCs, Heads of Legal and senior in-house lawyers with timely, topical and practical legal advice on a variety of topics.

8 Oct 2019, Seminar, Birmingham, UK

Supporting the development of paralegals, trainees and lawyers of up to five years' PQE by providing valuable knowledge and guidance together with practical tips.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions