UK businesses fail to close gender pay gap

5th May 2017

UK businesses fail to close gender pay gap

Efforts to close the gender pay gap have stagnated according to new figures, which reveal women make up only a quarter of the UK’s higher-rate taxpayers.

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.

According to the figures from HMRC, last tax year just 1.19m of the 4.41m higher-rate taxpayers were women. The percentage of female high earners in the UK has not changed for six years, even though the total number of higher-rate taxpayers in the UK has grown by almost a million in that period.

The average woman in the UK earns 85.5p for every £1 paid to a man. Professional women working full-time can expect to earn 22% less than their male colleagues in exactly the same job, with an average pay packet £8,524 smaller.

Announcing the gender pay gap reporting requirements last month, Women and Equalities Minister Justine Greening said “helping women to reach their full potential isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense”.

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.

But critics say the new rules lack teeth and imply discrimination when in fact women traditionally take time out of their job to have children which subsequently affects their career progression.

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 compounder 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 us on 01473 298102 or email andrew.west@gotelee.co.uk

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