...Closing the gap: Enforcing the gender pay gap regulations, for pursuing private, voluntary and public sector employers who fail to comply with the new Gender Pay Gap Regulations contained in the Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 and Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017.
The regulations require employers with 250 or more employees to publish information relating to their gender pay gap by 4 April 2018 (with an earlier deadline of 30 March 2018 for public sector employers). Currently, only approximately 5% of the 9000 organisations caught by the Regulations have published their data.
The Draft Enforcement Strategy
The EHRC outlines that it will be encouraging compliance by primarily promoting awareness, monitoring and publishing compliance rates. The purpose of this, the EHRC states, is to engage with employers who are in breach co-operatively and informally.
EHRC proposes that formal enforcement action will be taken against employers if necessary to ensure compliance, such as:
- Informal resolution - Writing to employers who are not compliant to comply drawing attention to their obligations, requiring acknowledgement to the letter within 14 days and compliance with the regulations within 42 days.
- Investigation (Section 20) - An investigation will be carried out to determine if the employer is in breach of their GPGR obligations.
- Agreement (Section 23) - Employers will be given the opportunity to enter into an agreement requiring compliance with GPGR for current and subsequent years.
- Order (Section 24) - If an agreement is entered into and not complied with, a court order will be sought to require the employer to comply with the undertaking given in the agreement.
- Unlawful Act Notice (Section 21) and Action Plan (Section 22) - Issuing unlawful act notices to private and voluntary sector employers who are in breach and have failed to comply with previous written agreements. A notice will require employers to create an action plan to remedy their breach, which will be approved or deemed inadequate within six weeks of receipt.
- Application to Court - Requiring that the employer complies with an order made against it. Where an employer does not comply with the order made against it and does not have a reasonable excuse, they can be convicted of an offence and made liable for an unlimited "level 5" fine.
We will provide a further update when the response to the consultation is published.
Points to Note
Employers must comply with their gender pay gap reporting obligations in advance of the deadlines. If you have any queries regarding the regulations our specialist Gender Pay Gap Regulation Team can assist.
For more information please contact Gemma Cawthray in our Employment Law team on 0117 314 5266.