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Further Measures Announced to Improve Transparency on the Gender Wage Gap

It has been announced that the government’s plans to fulfil their pledge of closing the gender wage gap will now require companies to publish details of bonuses given to their employees. It is argued that a developing bonus culture is one of the main ways in which gender bias in the workplace can easily become an issue, particularly at senior levels.

Chartered Management Institute chief executive Ann Francke spoke out on the issue, claiming that “there’s a tendency to reward those in our own image or to think that because men may be the ‘main breadwinners’ they deserve higher bonuses…men often negotiate harder or trumpet their achievements more readily”, resulting in biased bonuses.

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Presently, any company proven to be paying a woman less than her male counterpart for the same job would be acting unlawfully, yet the latest figures show that women on average earn 19.1% less than men, which accounts for the £245 billion annual wage gap.

The new pledge from David Cameron and Women and Equalities Minister, Nicky Morgan, comes following plans announced in July that will force companies with over 250 workers to publicise the difference in the average pay of their male and female employees.

Working Towards Equality Through Transparency

The government’s measures will now include the right to full transparency of the difference in the average pay of male and female employees, including bonuses, in companies with over 250 employees in both the public and private sector. It is hoped that the new terms will formally come into action at the beginning of 2016.

The prime minister is also due to announce a new target to eradicate all-male board rooms in the FTSE’s top 350 companies in the UK. This goal comes following the fulfilment of the aim to include women in at least a quarter of boardroom seats in the FTSE’s top 100 firms.

Rights of Employees

According to the Equalities Act of 2010, a woman doing equal work with a man in the same employment is entitled to equality in pay and other terms and ensures that her contractual terms are no less favourable than his. If a woman is successful in her claim against her employer failing to comply, she is entitled to –

  • An order from the employment tribunal declaring her rights.
  • Her pay – which includes basic pay, occupational pension benefits, non-discretionary bonuses. holiday pay, sick pay, overtime and shift payments – to be raised to that of her male counterpart.
  • Any benefit included in the man’s contract but not in hers be inserted into her contract.
  • Equalisation of contractual terms for the future.
  • Compensation consisting of overdue outstanding pay – back pay can be awarded up to a maximum of six years (5 years in Scotland) from the date that proceedings were filed with an employment tribunal. The employment tribunal may also award interest on the award of compensation.

It is unclear what the consequences of the government’s new plans will be for employers but it is hoped that with more transparency in the workplace, new conversations will begin causing the changing of behaviours with regard to women in work.