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


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


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

The Opposition’s 20th Amendment dilemmas

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

It’s the arithmetic, stupid! A no-confidence motion against the Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan, is logical and legitimate


Sri Lanka: May Day and workers’ rights

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

May Day was declared a holiday in Sri Lanka in 1956 for the Government sector, bank and mercantile sectors.


Central Bank to drive compliance of property developers

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Way back in 2009, the country’s economy was just $ 30 billion dollars and as at today, Sri Lanka is almost at three times the value touching $ 85 billion


Managing issues and reputation in tourism

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

I got sucked into the Sri Lanka tourism orbit in the 1970s when my fiancée, now wife, was working for one of the grand old men of tourism


Columnists More