News News & press releases Fawcett comments on Gender Pay Gap Reporting one year on: 'It's time for action plans not excuses' 4 APRIL 2019 In April 2018 the first mandatory Gender Pay Gap reporting took place – this saw all organisations with over 250 employees legally required to publish their gender pay gap data for the snapshot in April 2017. As the deadline for the second year of gender pay gap reporting arrives (4 April 2019), leading gender equality campaigning charity the Fawcett Society comments on the data a year on, and the progress that needs to be made. Read our full Gender Pay Gap Reporting Briefing 2019 here. Sam Smethers, Chief Executive at The Fawcett Society, says: "One year on, it is disappointing, but not surprising, that there are so many employers in the UK with large pay gaps and that these pay gaps aren't being closed. The regulations are not tough enough. It's time for action plans not excuses. "Employers need to set out a five year strategy for how they will close their gender pay gaps, monitoring progress and results. Government needs to require employers to publish action plans that we can hold them accountable to, with meaningful sanctions in place for those who do not comply. "In some cases employers will have a wider gap because they have taken on new female junior staff to build their pipeline. But unless they can demonstrate that, it is more likely that they’ve failed to make changes. "Gender Pay Gap reporting has started a conversation in our workplaces that wasn’t happening before. For many employers it is the first time that they have even looked at the differences in men's and women's pay in their organisation. But we also need to tackle all the causes of the pay gap - introduce more generous leave for fathers that they can afford to take, make every job flexible by default, unless there is a strong business case not to do so and deal with any outstanding pay discrimination that employers may find. “One of the many reasons women earn less on average than men is pay discrimination - even though it was outlawed almost fifty years ago. We know from our Equal Pay Advice Service that it is still happening. Gender pay gap reporting does not give women the information they need to challenge unequal pay. For that they need to know what their colleagues earn. Most employers say they don’t have an issue - but unless they have conducted an audit and set up a transparent pay framework, how would they know for sure?" Read our Gender Pay Gap Reporting briefing here Pay discrimination is unlawful, and is one of the many reasons women earn less on average than men. The Fawcett Society and YESS Law are working in partnership to offer an Equal Pay Advice Service targeted at those who believe they are being paid unfairly, and whose gross income is £30,000 per year or less and who do not have access to legal advice. If you believe that you may be experiencing pay discrimination, you can access the Service here. This is made possible by donations to our Equal Pay Fund which was started by a donation from Carrie Gracie. Please donate here to support this vital work.