UK employers asked to justify potentially dodgy gender pay gap figures UK employers asked to justify potentially dodgy gender pay gap figures

UK employers asked to justify potentially dodgy gender pay gap figures
17 Jul 2018

The UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) rewrote to around 20 employers over their gender pay gap figures in the first week of July, according to reports.

More than 10,000 organisations with 250 or more employees submitted gender pay data by the April 2018 deadline. But independent statistician Nigel Marriott recently estimated that between 9% and 17% of this information is incorrect - and now organisations that filed questionable figures are being asked to correct or justify their data. If they fail to do so, they risk being taken to court and could face unlimited fines.

An EHRC spokesperson told People Management: "We have identified a number of organisations who have submitted potentially inaccurate figures and have already written to some of the most suspect, giving them the opportunity to correct or explain them. If we are not satisfied with their responses we will investigate and are prepared to take them to court.”

But head of pay and reward at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Charles Cotton pointed out there are few measures in place to verify data supplied by organisations.

"The EHRC has limited resources, so I would imagine they are looking at figures that feel ‘odd,’ such as median pay gaps of 0 per cent," he said. "Unless the EHRC are going to start looking at organisations on a sector-by-sector or reason-by-reason basis, there is scope for organisations who want a quiet life to produce a figure that would not attract much attention."

But ensuring that employers undertake reporting appears to be paying off already. A survey of more than 1,000 UK organisations conducted by Willis Towers Watson revealed that 58% are now taking steps to tackle their gender pay gaps, according to HR Magazine.

More than half said they had recently checked their pay arrangements to ensure they were meeting equal pay obligations and almost a third were planning to do so. Nine out of 10 were also promoting flexible working arrangements, or were considering doing so.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

The UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) rewrote to around 20 employers over their gender pay gap figures in the first week of July, according to reports.

More than 10,000 organisations with 250 or more employees submitted gender pay data by the April 2018 deadline. But independent statistician Nigel Marriott recently estimated that between 9% and 17% of this information is incorrect - and now organisations that filed questionable figures are being asked to correct or justify their data. If they fail to do so, they risk being taken to court and could face unlimited fines.

An EHRC spokesperson told People Management: "We have identified a number of organisations who have submitted potentially inaccurate figures and have already written to some of the most suspect, giving them the opportunity to correct or explain them. If we are not satisfied with their responses we will investigate and are prepared to take them to court.”

But head of pay and reward at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Charles Cotton pointed out there are few measures in place to verify data supplied by organisations.

"The EHRC has limited resources, so I would imagine they are looking at figures that feel ‘odd,’ such as median pay gaps of 0 per cent," he said. "Unless the EHRC are going to start looking at organisations on a sector-by-sector or reason-by-reason basis, there is scope for organisations who want a quiet life to produce a figure that would not attract much attention."

But ensuring that employers undertake reporting appears to be paying off already. A survey of more than 1,000 UK organisations conducted by Willis Towers Watson revealed that 58% are now taking steps to tackle their gender pay gaps, according to HR Magazine.

More than half said they had recently checked their pay arrangements to ensure they were meeting equal pay obligations and almost a third were planning to do so. Nine out of 10 were also promoting flexible working arrangements, or were considering doing so.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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