The government is planning to require employers with at least 250 staff to publish information showing the differences in pay between men and women in their organisation. Labour supports mandatory reporting too, so this is likely to happen regardless of the election result.
Until now, gender pay reporting has been purely voluntary and quite rare. By August 2014, only four businesses had published their earnings gap data through the government's Think, Act, Report framework. Employers may be concerned that having to reveal pay disparities could prompt negative publicity, not to mention equal pay claims. But the precise nature of the duty remains to be seen. We don't yet know in what form the information would have to be published and how much detail would be required.
Nationally, the average difference in remuneration between men and women is 18%. Greater scrutiny of pay practices could have a significant impact, but is likely to be just one small step towards shifting deep-rooted inequalities.
Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin LLP solicitors, email: firstname.lastname@example.org