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Taking action in higher education

Gender pay reporting

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017, have been published. They only apply to universities and colleges who have 250 or more employees on 31 March of a given year. They apply to specified English authorities in the schedule, specified cross-border authorities and specified non-devolved authorities operating across England, Scotland and Wales. Scottish and Welsh public authorities listed in Schedule 19 of the Equality Act 2010 are subject to their own devolved regulations, which already include gender pay gap reporting.

Any English, Scottish or Welsh public sector employer that is not listed in Schedule 19 of Equality Act 2010 still needs to follow the private and voluntary sector regulations.

The new gender pay gap obligations have been introduced alongside the existing requirements under the Public Sector Equality Duty for specified public bodies, including publishing annual information to demonstrate compliance under the PSED and publishing equality objectives every four years. The deadline for all the publishing requirements have now been streamlined to 30 March 2018.

The Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements must be adhered to but a specified public authority can handle the process as part of their wider PSED work or equality strategy. For example, public authorities can set equality objectives which would help reduce the gender pay gap in their organisation.

Organisations with over 150 employees may already be publishing gender pay gap data under the existing requirement to publish data on its employees.

Gender pay reporting is a different requirement to carrying out an equal pay audit.

Equal pay deals with the pay differences between men and women who carry out the same jobs, similar jobs or work of equal value. It is unlawful to pay people unequally because they are a man or a woman.

The gender pay gap shows the difference in the average pay between all men and women in a workforce. If a workforce has a particularly high gender pay gap, this can indicate there may be a number of issues to deal with, and the individual calculations may help to identify what those issues are.

What are the calculations?

An employer must publish six calculations showing their:

  1. average gender pay gap as a mean average
  2. average gender pay gap as a median average
  3. average bonus gender pay gap as a mean average
  4. average bonus gender pay gap as a median average
  5. proportion of males receiving a bonus payment and proportion of females receiving a bonus payment
  6. proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from lowest to highest pay.

What should be done with the calculations?

The results must be published on the employer's website and a government website. They must, where applicable, be confirmed in a written statement by an appropriate person, such as a chief executive.

Employers have the option to provide a narrative with their calculations. This should generally explain the reasons for the results and give details about actions that are being taken to reduce or eliminate the gender pay gap.

  • The narrative can say why the results show challenges. For example, an employer might explain that their executives get the highest bonuses and most of them are men. Where there is a challenge, employers should consider taking new or faster actions to reduce or eliminate their gender pay gaps.
  • The narrative can say why the results show successes. For example, an employer might explain that a recent change to their bonus policy has helped provide a much lower bonus gender pay gap.
  • The narrative can also be used to show plans for long-term results. For example, an employer might want to tackle the underrepresentation of women in their science and engineering roles by running a recruitment campaign for junior roles that particularly encourages women to apply. In the short-term this means more women will be at the starting salaries, which could make the gender pay gap look higher. However, in the longer-term this will balance out and the underrepresentation should be reduced.
Last updated: 17 July 2017