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North West businesses yet to disclose their gender pay gap data with a day until the deadline: stricter enforcement and fines are on the way, warns employment law expert

03 Apr 2018

Regulations are set to introduce more stringent enforcement terms for businesses that fail to meet their gender pay gap reporting obligations, says Kevin McKenna, Head of Employment for Manchester commercial law firm Kuits.

Data sourced from the Government Equalities Office shows that over 1,000 UK businesses, including a number in the North West, are estimated to have still not disclosed their pay gap data, despite the 4 April reporting deadline.

A final policy published on 23 March by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) proposes unlimited fines to any employers who fail to comply.

McKenna contributed to the EHRC consultation on enforcement of the gender pay gap regulations (GPGR), which included reviewing and offering informed feedback on the draft enforcement policy. Initial drafts did not contain any specific sanctions for failure to comply with the requirements, although this has now been revised. The final enforcement policy can be seen online here.

Brought into force in spring 2017, the regulations state that public bodies and private and voluntary employers with 250 or more employees are now required by law to publish annual gender pay data.

The purpose of the regulations is to increase pay transparency as under the Equality Act 2010 it is illegal to pay different amounts to men and women doing the same job. The government, who has mandated the EHRC to manage and enforce the GPGR, believes that the requirements to publish annual reports will lead to employers taking more action to address pay inequality and close the gender pay gap.

McKenna said: “The policy shows that enforcement on the reporting regulations will not be as toothless as it first appeared and envisages fines which are unlimited where there is no compliance or cooperation.

“The Commission is clearly working to reverse the impression that the regulations will be ineffectual and make businesses aware of the possible sanctions for non-compliance, but a sizable number are yet to release their data – it is regrettable that further detail on enforcement was released so late.

“Kuits has been working with clients on their reporting obligations for over 18 months. However, there will be lots of other companies now under pressure to meet the deadline.”

Kuits’ employment experts are key influencers within the business community and hold quarterly legal update seminars for HR professionals from around Greater Manchester to drive best practice across the profession.

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