• Pem Paddick

Gender pay gap reports to return in 2021

Organisations in the private, public and voluntary sector with 250 or more employees at the ‘snapshot date’ must calculate and report their gender pay gap.

The definition of ‘employee’ for the purposes of meeting the reporting threshold is wide. It includes those working under a contract of employment, a contract of apprenticeship or a contract to personally do work. As such, casual workers, zero hours workers and self-employed contractors who provide personal service will count towards the number of employees within the organisation.

If any organisation in a group structure meets these requirements then they are legally required to produce a report. It is encouraged that parent groups report on all organisations within the group structure regardless of whether they meet the employee threshold, although this is voluntary.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) decided to suspend enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines for the reporting year of 2019/20. The decision meant there was no expectation on employers to report their data in 2020.

The government have since confirmed that reporting requirements are to return in 2021.

On 23 February 2021, the Equality and Human Rights Commission confirmed that whilst reporting would still go ahead in 2021, they would delay the enforcement of publications of the report for six months for both public and private organisations. This means that enforcement will commence on 5 October 2021 for 'all public, private and voluntary sector employers in scope'. Whilst this gives organisations an extra six months in which to publish their report, they are still encouraged to do so prior to October.

From 5 October onwards, the EHRC will begin contacting organisations who have not yet published their report. A resulting investigation could lead to unlimited fines after court action.