BBC under scrutiny after gender pay gap is revealed

20th July 2017

BBC under scrutiny after gender pay gap is revealed

If you tuned into the BBC this morning, you’ll have heard or watched as some of the corporation’s best-known presenters talked about their own salaries – and the gaping gender disparity between remuneration for male and female stars.

The furore over who earns what at the BBC follows the publication of pay scales for those who are paid more than £150,000 a year.

While the bumper salaries handed to the likes of Chris Evans (up to £2.5m) and Gary Lineker (at least £1.75m) caused a stir, the real controversy has surrounded the pay gap between men and women.

Two-thirds of BBC stars earning more than £150,000 are male, while the top female earner – Claudia Winkleman – was paid between £450,000 and £500,000 last year, a fraction of the salary handed to BBC Radio 2 host Evans.

In fact, the top seven earners in the list of the BBC’s 96 best-paid stars were all male.

There were some awkward revelations for those presenting on television and radio this morning – among those who may have felt a little uncomfortable was Dan Walker, who earns up to £250,000 a year while his BBC Breakfast co-host Louise Minchin is not on the list, and the Today Programme’s John Humphrys, who is paid £600,000 a year while fellow host Mishal Husain earns more than £200,000 and Sarah Montague less than £150,000.

It is the first time the pay of stars earning more than £150,000 has been made public. The BBC has been compelled to reveal the information under the terms of its new Royal Charter.

BBC director general Tony Hall said there was “more to do” on the gender pay gap.

“On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the civil service,” Lord Hall said.

“We’ve made progress, but we recognise there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster.”

Lord Hall pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2020.

Earlier this year, figures revealed that efforts to close the gender pay gap in the UK had stagnated. The statistics showed that women make up only a quarter of the UK’s higher-rate taxpayers.

Meanwhile, there has been little change in the proportion of top female earners – those who are paid between £43,000 and £150,000 – over the last six years, HMRC tax records show.

That is despite initiatives to increase diversity in senior positions, including targets for female board members on FTSE 100 firms and the recently introduced policy forcing companies employing more than 250 staff to publish their pay gap between men and women. The measure means that employers must capture data on 5 April 2017, which must be published by 4 April 2018. Companies must then repeat the process every year.

About half of the UK workforce will be affected by the new reporting rules, which encompass 9,000 employers and more than 15 million employees.

How can Gotelee’s Employment Law Solicitors help you?

Understanding your obligations when it comes to the gender pay gap and equal pay is complex. The danger of ignoring this important issue is only likely to lead to problems being compounded and stored up for the future, and potentially exposing your organisation to greater risk of equal pay and sex discrimination claims.

Employers, more than ever before, need sound and clear employment law advice on how to manage these risks and to implement changes needed to avoid them.

Gotelee’s team of employment law experts, based in Ipswich, Hadleigh, Felixstowe, Woodbridge and Melton, can help you. To find out more about what we can do, contact Andrew West on 01473 298102 or email andrew.west@gotelee.co.uk or Marie Allen on 01473 298133 or email marie.allen@gotelee.co.uk

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