It is no secret that the gender pay gap has been an ongoing issue for women all over the world. This problem will not dissolve and disappear on its own; action must be taken in order to successfully close this discrepancy. Luckily, the UK is doing something about it.
A new law in the UK requires employers with more than 250 staff members to collect data so they can publish their gender pay gap, their bonus gap, and a breakdown of how many men and women get a bonus. This is all in an effort to close the pay gap, which was 9.4% in 2016.
By requiring companies to make their stats public and identify discrimination, the UK is acknowledging companies that are keeping women at a disadvantage solely because of their gender. Although there are no specific rules on what the companies should do once they reveal pay gaps, this initial government push to expose the problem is likely to result in progress.
How this new law works is that the results must be published on the employer’s website and government site within 12 months of the law’s enactment. This allows customers and/or potential employees to go elsewhere if they do not like what they see.
No company wants to be at the top of the pay inequality rankings. Now no matter how much a company might preach gender equality, the numbers will not lie. This will serve as a huge reflection on the company as a whole.
Josephine Van Lierop is an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon. She has stated that employers are not required to provide any narrative with their pay data, meaning that they may fail to shine any light on why they have a pay gap.
Lierop explained, “We also suspect there will be a certain degree of license for employers to exclude and manipulate data, which is highly subjective [and open to] interpretation in any event. We expect big-budget organizations to be hiring expert pay consultants to identify and manipulate the numbers, how the parameters of the quartiles are identified, which people are counted, and to put a positive spin on the data.”
Hopefully, this will not be the case for many employers, and instead this new law will help companies figure out why there is such a gap.
It is important to understand the reasons for the gender pay gap range. However, the reasons are complicated, and there is not an easy or quick fix to this problem. For example, the motherhood pay penalty is that women’s earnings decrease due to the time they take off to have children and the nature of work they return to afterwards.
This, however, does not mean there is nothing that can be done to make improvements and move forward.
The UK’s new law will certainly shed light on the inconsistency of gender pay. Seeing this initiative being taken creates hope for a solution and motivation to take action against a problem that will not go away on its own.
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