A failure to sanction companies that submit inaccurate gender pay gap figures is making a mockery of the reporting system, says Labour’s minister for Women and Equality, Dawn Butler. Last week the Guardian analysed companies’ submissions and found faulty data filed by some companies for last year have yet to be corrected and a number have filed mathematically impossible figures this year. Despite the errors, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) admitted that no companies have yet been fined for failing to comply with legislation.
The EHRC did say they had contacted 100 employers who submitted suspicious-looking data last year and reserved the right to pursue enforcement action retrospectively. An EHRC spokesperson said employers were working hard to get to grips with the calculations and that it had not yet found evidence of deliberate attempts to mislead.
“According to data analytics from Paygaps.com, 31.3% of the just over 1,000 organisations that submitted their gender pay gap reports for 2019 included erroneous data. These mistakes were generally ‘one or two administrative errors’, the most common being a failure to include a link to a written report despite requirements for these reports to be made available to the public. 9.6 % of reports were signed by an individual who failed to meet the required level of employment, while some had not even been signed by a company employee,” says Joanna Alexiou, a Senior Associate Solicitor from Johns & Saggar’s Employment team.
This year’s reports so far have also shown that 74% have a gender pay gap in favour of men whilst 14% favour women. The remaining 12% do not have a gender pay gap.
The Government Equalities Office said, “Closing the gender pay gap is not a quick fix, and employers may take time to see their gap close as they implement long term action plans”.
Joanna concludes, “Of course society has made huge progress since the enactment of the Equal Pay Act, 1970, when it was quite common for employers to openly give different rates of pay to men and women performing the same job, or to reserve certain jobs for men and other (lower-paid) jobs for women, unfortunately there still is a significant and worrying gender pay gap today which needs to be narrowed.”
If you feel you are a victim of unfair pay practices and would like to do something about it Johns & Saggar has a specialist Employment law practice.
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