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Update on Gender Pay Reporting

on Wednesday, 22 November 2017.

The Department for Education (DfE) became the first government department to comply with its obligation to publish data on the gender and bonus pay gap.

The DfE has reported a mean pay gap of 5.3% and a median pay gap of 5.9%.  This is far lower than the UK's reported national gender pay gap of 18.1%.

All public sector employers (including academies) with 250 or more employees, are due to publish their gender pay gap data by 30 March 2018.

This is required under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 (the Regulations).

Please note that it is necessary to consider all staff employed by the same employer. So for schools within a group where one legal entity employs all the staff, the total number of staff within the legal entity is the trigger for the duty applying. The definition of employees is also broad, so that casual workers will be captured, and included in the total employee figure. 

As part of the narrative in the report, the DfE noted that it has introduced a range of initiatives to support women in the workplace, for example:

  • Support for women returning to work through shared parental leave, job sharing or part-time opportunities
  • Helping women progress in their careers through talent management schemes
  • Providing training to upskill female workers
  • Monitoring pay to identify any differences and taking targeted action to reduce any pay gaps where appropriate
  • Improving the recruitment process by reducing unconscious bias and ensuring that all interviewers have undergone appropriate training
  • Focus on gender equality by making it a central part of the Diversity and Inclusion strategy

Best Practice

So far, only 226 employers have submitted their gender pay gap reports. Of that number, only 21 are educational establishments. We are aware that many schools caught by the Regulations are currently in the process of analysing their data and undertaking the calculations required to produce the gender pay gap reports.

We recommend that the gender pay information is accompanied by a written statement confirming that the information is accurate. The data should be uploaded to the Government portal and published on the School's website. In order to ensure Governor approval of the School's gender pay gap report is obtained before the reporting deadline this should be properly timetabled into the routine governor meetings.

The information on the Government portal only contains basic calculations.  Schools may not consider this minimalist approach desirable and in particular, if the calculations identify a gender pay gap, we strongly recommend a supporting narrative to explain the calculations and to identify or explain any positives to be included on the school's own website. Schools may also wish to consider developing an Equality Action plan to establish initiatives that could be put in place to close the gap over time. The DfE's initiatives could be a good starting point.

We are working with a number of schools, to support them with queries on the calculations and with narratives. The requirements do throw up some particular challenges for schools given the variety of working arrangements.

For further information on how schools should approach these, please do consider the FAQs available on our academy portal OnStream.

Should you require additional advice on this issue or other issues related to employment, please contact Naseem Nabi in our Academies team on 0117 314 5630.

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