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Public Sector Gender Pay Regulations - What You Need to Know

on Friday, 03 February 2017.

The government, on 20 January 2017, published the draft Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 (the Regulations)...

... which will introduce gender pay gap reporting in the public sector.

It is anticipated that, subject to parliamentary approval, the Regulations will come into force on 31 March 2017.

Background

Public authorities are subject to an existing public sector equality duty (PSED), which requires public authorities to have regard to the need to eliminate conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010, such as discrimination, advance equal opportunities and foster good relations between persons that do, and do not have protected characteristics.

The Regulations will replace the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011, which currently require bodies to publish certain PSED information.

The Regulations introduce changes to the existing PSED, and more importantly, impose a new requirement on public authorities to publish gender pay gap information.

Which organisations are covered?

The requirement to report gender pay gap information applies to public authorities listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulations and includes:

  • local authorities
  • further and higher education institutions
  • maintained schools
  • fire and rescue services

The duty to report gender pay gap information only applies to public authorities in England with 250 or more employees.

What do the Regulations say?

The Regulations largely mirror the draft Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, which apply to private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees. However, the Regulations differ in relation to snapshot date on which pay data is to be collated in each year, being 31 March for public authorities and 5 April for private employers.

Public authorities that are required to report must capture the relevant pay data on 31 March 2017 and publish the information by 30 March 2018, and at yearly intervals going forward.

There are six reports that are required under the Regulations:

  • the difference in mean pay between genders (expressed as a %)
  • the difference in median pay between genders (expressed as a %)
  • the difference in mean bonus payments between genders (expressed as a %)
  • the difference in median bonus payments between genders (expressed as a %)
  • the proportion of men and women in the workforce that received a bonus
  • the number of men and women in each quartile of the pay range

Going forward, to demonstrate compliance with the PSED, public sector authorities listed in Schedule 2 must also undertake the following actions in addition to reporting its gender pay gap information:

  • Publish information about employees who share a relevant protected characteristic, by no later than 30 March 2018, and going forward annually (at intervals of no more than one year from the last publication). Please note that the requirement to report information about employees only applies to public authorities with 150 or more employees.  

  • Prepare and publish one or more objectives relating to the three core objectives of the PSED by no later than 30 March 2018, and going forward at intervals of no more than four years.

If you would like further information about the Regulations, including responses to your FAQs, please email Gemma Cawthray in our Employment Law team on 0117 314 5266.

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