In all the commentary written on the Gender Pay Gap reporting (GPGR – not to be confused with GDPR) legislation, very little has touched on the consequences of an employer failing to comply with its duty to report and publish. Very unusually for employment law, the duty to report may be a legal duty but comes with no specific fine or other legal penalty for failing to comply. That’s led to quite a few people asking me “why should we even bother to report?”
To date, all we’ve known from the Government Equalities Office is that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) might investigate an employer who doesn’t comply. It wasn’t clear how much of a risk this might actually be, particularly given that the EHRC has limited staff and resources.
Unexpectedly strong response
However, with a sense of resolve which I must admit I was not expecting, the ECHR has just announced its plans to take a robust approach. Its consultation paper announces that it plans to monitor all GPGR submissions to the Government’s website and, checking these against its list of those employers who must comply, the EHRC will then chase up every non-reporting employer.
They also intend to check the GPG figures submitted by each employer and take action against those whose data appears unlikely to be true or accurate. (You may recall that in my last blog I mentioned that the Financial Times was investigating certain employers whose claims to have a zero percent GPG seemed too unlikely to be true. I will come back to this in future blogs.)
The EHRC can then apply its wide and strong powers to force compliance on employers and ask the courts to issue significant fines.
Accuracy of GPG figures
One aspect to highlight for all GPGR employers, therefore, is the need to ensure that your GPG figures are accurate. There are a number of ways in which falsified figures can look suspicious, and the reputational harm arising from both being found to have been misleading and being investigated by the EHRC at the same time would be significant.
It also highlights the need to ensure that your GPG figures are professionally calculated in accordance with both the GPGR legislation and established statistical approaches. Being found to have messed up your GPG figures and suffering an EHRC investigation would be highly embarrassing.
So ensure you report on time and ensure your figures are accurate. If you are in any doubt, I and my expert GPG team will be delighted to help you, whether for just a quick look over your figures or to do the full calculation so that you can be getting on with your day jobs.
email Luke or call 0117 325 0921