Despite its unobjectifiable obviousness in the modern day, Equal Pay has been a topic under the glare of the employment law spotlight for some time and something the public have become increasingly passionate about. As an employment lawyer, it would be nice to believe that the public were as interested in employment statistics and reform as we are. However the far more plausible explanation is that modern day transparency, the #MeToo campaign and the Harvey Weinstein scandal have kickstarted the much-needed motivation in order to achieve meaningful change.
It was less than a year ago that employers were made by the Government Equalities Office to disclose their pay-gaps by April 2018- revealing those who are still failing to comply with Equal Pay legislation. Upon publication of the statistics, the corporate equality manifestos and diversity press statements lost all credibility when the glaringly obvious reality is- you’ve been caught out. Alarmingly, almost 8/10 companies with over 250 employees were shown to pay men more than women.
More recently, employers will be feeling the pressure as after the past year of publicity driven equality pledges to the masses, employers will actually have to show their cards as come April 2019 they are compelled to submit their second annual pay gap reports.
With that said, it’s not only the sought-after corporate diversity badge that is pushing through the change, prospective employees themselves are forcing the corporate hand by ranking diversity and equality higher on their agenda when interviewing.
It’s not all bad news…
Although, the Equal Pay movement isn’t moving quite as fast as we may like, the pay-gap is slowly but surely reducing. For instance, in 2018 the gap fell to its lowest yet- 8.6% amongst full time employees.
It is not expected that there will be a seismic shift in the figures this coming April as each annual report relates to figures from the previous year and it was only following the 2018 report that employers found themselves under real scrutiny.
That said, annual compulsory reporting definitely appears to be the way to go in closing the equal pay gap.