Home / Special Report/ UK threatens action against 1,500 firms over silence on gender pay gap

UK threatens action against 1,500 firms over silence on gender pay gap


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 11 April 2018 00:00

Facebook

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - About 1,500 large British companies that failed to meet a government deadline to report the pay gap between male and female employees could face legal action, Britain’s equality watchdog said.

A law introduced last year requires companies and charities with more than 250 workers - covering almost half of Britain’s workforce - to report their gender pay gap each year by April 4.

More than 10,000 employers met the midnight deadline, with data showing that almost eight in 10 pay men more than women on average, while only 14% pay female staff higher salaries.

Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the 1,500-odd companies that had not met the deadline would be given a month to comply before the watchdog took action - which could lead to court proceedings and result in unlimited fines.

“Reporting gender pay gaps is not optional; it is a legal requirement, as well as being the right thing to do,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the EHRC, said in a statement.

“We will soon be starting enforcement against all employers that haven’t published,” she added.

As in many other countries, gender pay inequality has been a persistent problem in Britain despite sex discrimination being outlawed in the 1970s, and has sparked a public debate in recent years over why wages are still so different for men and women.

The overall gender pay gap in Britain stands at 18.4%, according to government data published last year.

HSBC, Virgin Atlantic and a unit of Barclays were among the largest companies with the biggest gender pay gap - at 59, 58 and 49% respectively - according to a Reuters analysis of the published data using the mean as the measure.

Companies are not required to break down the data in detail, leading to criticism that the average figures could obscure or exaggerate demographic explanations for disparities. Yet they mark a turning point for women in the workplace, advocates say.

“By finding out what their colleagues earn, women are then in a position to challenge any pay inequality,” Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, a UK-based women’s rights group, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.

“We are calling on women everywhere today to take that first step and simply have the conversation about pay,” she added. 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

No more stones to break Sri Lankan bones

Friday, 19 April 2019

Trial by fire is not a new ordeal to Christian community. It predates Notre Dame and Nazism by millennia. In fact, a decade or so before Nero torched believers to light Roman avenues, Jewish religious leaders put Jesus-followers to the test as the Ch


Wounding the social psyche

Friday, 19 April 2019

In this article, I intend to discuss the serious wounds inflicted on the psyche of Sri Lankan society, which have not received adequate attention, but need immediate cure, for they might develop into a dangerous cancer if not treated without further


What 5G could be to Game of Thrones (and vice versa)

Friday, 19 April 2019

We will be hearing a lot about these two seemingly unrelated topics this month. In a hurriedly but meticulously organised event, Dialog Axiata recently demonstrated 5G applications for the first time in South Asia. 5G will be commercially available


On time – Only for a week! A must-change!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

We are in April and the month where we witness the declaration of a new year as per our traditional practice. It is that period of time when a huge majority of our population, which certainly can be counted in millions, intends to act in unison and q


Columnists More