Employment Law Snapshot – Issue 13

Employment Law Snapshot – Issue 13

 

Introduction

Hello and welcome to issue 13 of my Employment Law Snapshot.

Spring has now officially sprung and I hope that you all survived April Fool’s Day last week. I spent a happy weekend scouring the newspapers trying to spot real news and ‘fake news’ (to use a Trumpism). To be honest, sometimes it was quite difficult to spot the difference. For example, it took me a little time Googling a particular story to check that it was, in fact, true.

Apparently, a school in Lincolnshire has come up with a rather novel way to attract and retain employees…. by offering them the opportunity to take a ‘duvet day’ every year. For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, it’s basically a day when an employee can decide to take a day off for no particular reason, or as my colleagues at work say, when referring to me, every other Monday…..

On with the law.

The legal stuff

This week, I’m going to take a quick look at the Gender Pay Gap Regulations, which became law on 6 April this year. Basically, these regulations require large private and public sector employers to publish calculations that show the pay gap between their male and female employees on an annual basis. At the moment, this law applies to employers with a headcount of 250 or more employees.

The regulations have quite a wide definition of who is considered to be an ‘employee’, because it includes workers, as well as some self-employed people.

The figures have to be calculated using a specific reference date – this is called the ‘snapshot date’. For private business, this is the 5th April and for public bodies, it’s the 31st March. Organisations must publish their pay gap figures within a year of the snapshot date.

To be clear, the Gender Pay Gap Regulations is not the same as equal pay. It’s designed to show the difference in the average pay between all men and women in a workforce.

Employers have to publish the following pay gap information:

  1. The mean and median gender pay gap in hourly pay;
  2. The mean and median gender pay gap of bonuses;
  3. The proportion of males and females receiving a bonus payment; and
  4. The proportion of males and females in each pay quartile

The figures are always expressed as a percentage, for example, “men earn 10% more than women per hour”.

The regulations have quite complicated definitions of what should be taken into account when determining what is classed as “pay” and “bonuses”, which is beyond the scope of this Snapshot. However, the calculations have to be based on gross figures, before any deductions have been applied.

Employers will be required to report on the proportion of men and women in each of four pay bands (referred to as ‘quartiles’) from the lowest to the highest paid employees. Employers have to generate their own quartiles, each containing an equal number of employees. The proportion of male and female employees in each quartile must then be reported in percentage terms.

Finally, employers must publish their results on their own website, as well as a government site, within 12 months of the “snapshot date” and annually thereafter. They must retain this information online for three years. Employers will have the option to provide a narrative with their calculations to explain any reasons for the results or any actions that are being taken to improve any gender pay gaps identified.

At the moment, there aren’t any sanctions for failing to comply with the reporting obligations or for publishing inaccurate or misleading reports. However, the government will run periodic checks to assess non-compliance and will potentially create a database of compliant employers.

It’s clear that the reporting obligations are quite complicated and I have only been able to give a brief overview in this issue, so if you do need any assistance, please let us know.

And finally…

In my never ending search for weird and wonderful employment related stories, this week I read about a report detailing the so-called ‘sexiest jobs’ in the UK. Here’s a spoiler alert – I don’t think that there’s anything sexy about them at all.

Nevertheless, the top 5 sexiest male jobs are (in order of ‘sexiness’) – number 1: Finance Manager (whatever that is), number 2: Software Engineer, number 3: Doctor, number 4: Real Estate Developer and number 5: Lawyer. I’m sure that the current Mrs Tibble will have something sarcastic to say about that last one….

The top female jobs are: number 1: Student (can that be classed as a ‘job’?), number 2: Nurse, number 3: Model, number 4: Publicist and number 5: Beauty Therapist.

So, on that highbrow note, that’s all for this episode.

See you next time.

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