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      Majority of UK employers in the dark about how to handle gender pay gap reporting regulations

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      Few UK employers are prepared to handle the requirements of the new gender pay gap reporting regulations coming into force in April this year, according to a new survey from XpertHR.

      The regulations will require all employers with 250 or more employees to measure and report their gender pay gaps for the first time. XpertHR found that only 6.2% of employers had any formal mechanisms in place to monitor their gender pay gap before the legislation was announced. And, with the deadline date fast approaching, most admitted they don’t know how or when they will publish the results of the exercise.

      Although proposals to introduce mandatory reporting were announced in October 2015, more than half (53.5%) of organisations had no monitoring in place before then. Just over a third claimed to have carried out “informal” monitoring in the past, while a handful (7.1%) did not know whether or not they had done so before the regulations were announced.

      The picture is slightly different in the public sector, where 27.3% of organisations had undertaken formal monitoring and 45.5% had completed informal monitoring. But in manufacturing and production, none of the respondents reported having formal monitoring in place before the new obligations were announced. However, this problem has been addressed, as 90% of manufacturers said they have now completed a trial run or plan to do so before the requirement comes in.

      Now, four months before the regulations are due to take effect, four out of 10 organisations said that they had conducted a trial run of the calculations that will be required to comply with the law. Similar numbers (35.5%) plan to do so before April.

      However, just under one-fifth (18.8%) admitted that they will run their data for the first time when the regulations are in force – leaving them (and those who left their trial run until the last minute) no time to assess their position and draw up plans before having to take the figures to the board.

      There was also disparity among employers about who would be responsible for data collection and reporting. A third plan to give this task to their chief executive (34.1%) and almost a third said it would fall to their HR director (30.4%). Smaller numbers intend the finance director to do this (9.4%), while around one in four (23.2%) don’t yet know who will take on the responsibility.

      The regulations state that information must appear on a public website and remain there for three years. A minority of respondents have decided they will publish their gender pay gap data in their annual report (13%) or as a standalone publication (13.8%), however two-thirds (65.2%) don’t know how they will publish their data.

      Employers also must publish their first gender pay gap metrics by April 2018 at the latest – but one in four organisations (23.9%) intend to delay this as long as possible, publishing as close as they can to the deadline. Although small numbers plan to complete the task as soon as possible after April 2017 (11.6%) or at the time of their annual report (7.2%), more than half of organisations (52.9%) admitted they don’t know when they will publish their figures.

      When it comes to acting upon the data, employers are keen to be seen to do the right thing. XpertHR found that two-thirds of respondents expect to commit to a plan to close any pay gap that is identified, while 27.5% said they were unsure what would happen. Only 5% said their organisation would not commit to closing the gender pay gap.

      XpertHR’s Content Director Mark Crail said: “This survey shines a light on the challenges involved in gender pay gap reporting. It highlights that most organisations aren’t yet ready to tackle the practical implications of the reporting and the requirements of the regulations. Most don’t yet know how or when they will publish their metrics and around a quarter plan to delay the publication for as long as possible.

      While this is a highly complex area for organisations to get right and there are potential legal penalties for those who fail to comply, help and guidance are available. XpertHR is helping employers get to grips with the issues by providing a range of guidance and support, quick FAQs, and even a full reporting service, where we will do the calculations on their behalf.”

      XpertHR has also recently updated its online guide, ‘How to measure and reporting a gender pay gap‘.

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      Molly Dyson

      Former Editor – PA Life

      All stories by: Molly Dyson