Men Vs. Women – The Gender Pay Gap Lowering Slowly

The gender pay gap continues to be a really hot topic, particularly in light of the recent deadline to file updated reports; for private companies and charities this was 4th April 2019, and the 30th March 2019 for public sector organisations.

Mandatory pay gap reporting was actually introduced in 2017, and requires employers with more than 250 employees to provide details of their individual gender pay gap, along with the proportion of men and women in each section of the company’s pay structure.  

Legislation to prevent employers from paying female employees less because of their sex has been in place since 1970. This legislation applies to anyone working in the UK and can equally be used by male employees in the same position. Under this legislation, employees who are paid less due to their sex can bring claims in the Employment Tribunal for all aspects of pay, including overtime rates, performance related benefits, hours of work, and annual leave entitlements.

The slightly good news shows that the average pay gap in favour of men has in fact lowered from 9.7% last year, to 9.6% in this year. Whilst this is only a gradual reduction and does appear to be very slow, it may be seen as a small step in the right direction. Many employers have vowed to take further action to reduce the divide.

Despite this, figures show that almost four out of five companies still have a pay gap which favours men, and just 14% demonstrated a divide in the favour of women. Disappointingly, recent BBC analysis shows that around 45% of companies admitted that the division in pay has in fact increased in favour of men, contradicting the reduction reported. Overall, the figures have revealed that less than half of the largest employers in the UK have been successful in their attempts to reduce the gender pay gap so there’s still a very long road ahead.

However, the gender pay gap is just one of many types of sex discrimination in the workplace. Sexual harassment and victimisation are common examples of sex discrimination experienced by employees and job applicants.  58% of women and 43% of men have experienced sexual harassment at some time in their career and admit not reporting it to their employer.

Despite the high number of employees who do not report harassment, discrimination claims are on the rise. Campaigns such as #metoo enable and empower more people to speak out.  Employment Tribunal statistics reveal that the number of claims for sex discrimination in England and Wales has increased by 76% since 2013, with claims for equal pay increasing by 91% since 2015.

Employers should be aware that sex discrimination can be both direct and indirect. It’s therefore essential that employers ensure that their policies are fair to all employees, and incidents of discrimination are dealt with effectively and appropriately.

If you require assistance regarding any kind of discrimination, please contact me on 01702 238514 or [email protected].

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