It is not yet known what information will need to be published but it is likely that there will be a potential fine for non-compliance. This also gives rise to a concern that the information could be used by employees and their trade unions to challenge pay, with the threat of equal pay litigation where differences in pay are identified.
The government consultation, which took place during the summer of 2015, focused on the type of information that should be included in reports, the frequency of reporting and updating and whether or not the threshold of 250 employees is appropriate.
The consultation closed in September 2015 and we understand that the responses submitted are being considered as part of the drafting process. We are awaiting the publication of draft regulations.
The present commentary suggests that regulations will not be published before Spring 2016 and will not take effect until later in the year in order to ensure employers have adequate time to prepare for reporting.
We will provide further guidance for schools when the draft regulations are published. In the meantime, we would recommend that all schools (and particularly those with more than 250 employees) undertake preliminary steps to ensure they are prepared for these regulations.
It is a good time to review pay policies to ensure these are legally compliant and transparent. If schools are concerned that there are inconsistencies amongst employees' pay which may be highlighted by the reporting requirements it is a good time to identify these and take appropriate steps to address any discrepancies.