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PM Theresa May promises to tackle ‘burning injustice’ of the gender pay gap

Equal pay

As the gender pay gap deadline looms, Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May has pledged to tackle the ‘burning injustice’ between the average earnings of men and women.

Many UK businesses are still required to submit their gender pay figures before today’s midnight deadline. Around 8,870 firms have already done so, with many declaring their commitment to address the issue.

Roughly 9,000 companies with more than 250 staff members are required to state the average difference between what their male and female employees earn.

PM Theresa May revealed that the disclosures would make for ‘uncomfortable reading’, but that the ‘burning injustice’ must be dealt with, reports the Daily Telegraph.

She said: “It is essential that we do so. Most importantly, because equality for women is a right, and our whole society is the poorer as long as it remains unrealised.”

78 per cent of the companies who have released data pay men more than women, while just 13 per cent pay women more. Elsewhere, eight per cent cited that they had no gender pay gap based on the median measure.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development added: “Gender pay gap reporting was dismissed by some as a blunt instrument of compliance. But as more and more results have been published we have seen that it is revealing some challenging truths about where the real issues lie in achieving sustainable change.

“We need to use the data to give us greater clarity on the courses of action we all need to take to make a real shift on this long-standing business and societal agenda. It’s vital that organisations continue to develop this narrative and hold themselves to account in the years ahead. There are many actions we can take now, such as providing more flexible working roles and opportunities, and ensuring recruitment, development and promotion processes are truly unbiased and inclusive.

“It is often said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. The increased transparency that gender pay reporting has brought has further fueled the debate about how we’re supporting different groups in society towards fulfilling, fair, and rewarding opportunities and work for all.”