Ways to close the pay gap

The Government’s commitment to closing the gap between men’s and women’s pay has real benefits for women and the economy, says the Fawcett Society and it has suggested a number of ways to make it work in practice.

In our official response to the government’s consultation regarding its promise  to require larger employers to publish gender pay information, Fawcett suggests:

  • Any figures published by large companies should give enough information to make a meaningful comparison. A single figure would not give a full picture. We call for regulations to include a full pay audit that include wide financial benefits such as bonuses, overtime and perks.
  • The pay audits should follow best practice outlined by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the independent body established to challenge discrimination and reduce inequality. The Commission offers clear information about how to carry out an effective pay audit and it also has the expertise to oversee the delivery and ensure compliance  – but it must be given the resource to take this on.
  • Companies should follow up any pay reviews with an action plan to close any gender pay gap, which should be public and transparent
  • There should be support and guidance for employers to help them change practices that put women at a disadvantage. Organisations may unwittingly contribute to pay differences as pay and conditions change or through pursuing old HR policies.
  • The proposed fine of £5,000 for companies that refuse to comply should be higher and employees should have a right to complain to an employment tribunal in that situation.

Chief Executive Sam Smethers says: “The Fawcett Society is keen to work with government and employers to develop this support using our expertise in gender equality to build a fairer and more productive UK economy.

“This is a great opportunity to help tackle the wider obstacles to women’s progression in the workplace and we welcome this step towards closing the gender pay gap.”

Read more about Sam’s views on equal pay and how to achieve it

See Fawcett’s full consultation response

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