Equality is now compulsory
Currently, the power to force companies to report the gender pay gap (‘GPG’) is already contained in the Equalities Act 2010, but was not implemented in the hope that companies would report it voluntarily. But since the coalition government published its ‘Think, Act, Report Initiative’ in 2011, only five of the 7,000 affected companies have carried out pay audits voluntarily and reported their figures to date. With the new government’s consultation on compulsory GPG, which took place between 14 July and 6 September 2015, the outcome is now eagerly awaited.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the gender pay gap for full time employees is 9.1 per cent in favour of men (down from 17.4 per cent in 1997), but when full time and part time roles are combined, the figure jumps to 19.1 per cent (down from 27.5 per cent in 1997). While for women aged 22-39, their average hourly pay is slightly higher than men, it seems that the biggest female age group affected is 40-49 (13 per cent) and 50-59 (17 per cent), which it is suggested is due to women returning to the job market after having children.